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Summer Concert Season and Beyond: 7 Storylines, Trends to Watch

From Gaga’s comeback to bountiful legal weed, what to expect in live music right now

summer tours, tour dates, lady gaga, travis scott, cage the elephant, phish, bonnaroo, panorama festival

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Last year was the most profitable in live-music history, with $7.3 billion in tickets sold, twice as much as a decade earlier. This year, expect that number to get even bigger. To fend off competition, festivals and artists are incorporating innovations from virtual reality to marijuana vendors. Recruiting millennials is key: Bonnaroo recently rebounded from a dismal 2016 after doubling down on EDM and hip-hop, moving even further away from its jam-band roots. Here’s more of what to expect.

NYC Is the New Vegas

Trey Anastasio of Phish

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NYC Is the New Vegas

In July, Phish will take over Madison Square
Garden for 13 nights. They’re just one act planning extended New York
residencies: By year’s end, LCD Soundsystem will have played a total of 22
shows at Brooklyn Steel, and Bruce Springsteen is reportedly considering a
Broadway run. 

See Travis Scott at Your Own Risk

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See Travis Scott at Your Own Risk

The rapper was recently arrested for inciting a
riot in Arkansas after fans rushed the stage. It was just another night on his
new tour, which has been full of risky incidents: In New York he told fans, “Don’t
be scared,” urging them to jump off a balcony into the crowd (one did, and
broke his leg). “I came for the chaos,” Scott said at Coachella.

Lady Gaga Gaga: Stadium Monster

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Gaga: Stadium Monster

Lady Gaga once said she wanted to be like Iron Maiden, able to tour huge venues without a big hit. Her Joanne tour suggests she’s already there, selling out multinight runs in arenas and stadiums. Credit her Super Bowl performance – and the fanatical devotion of her Little Monsters. 

Tech Tries Moving in on Festivals

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Tech Tries Moving in on Festivals

If you go to a fest, expect to see funny goggles. New York’s Panorama is hyping a 360-degree “virtual-reality dome,” and L.A.’s FYF is giving out 3D glasses to wear for Flying Lotus’ set. Some are skeptical of the VR phenomenon. “People don’t like wearing [goggles] for more than 15 minutes,” says LeRoy Bennett, production designer for Beyoncé and others. “I don’t see it as the next big thing.” 

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