After about a decade-long hiatus in hosting large concerts, Aloha Stadium is enjoying a blockbuster run with Bruno Mars attracting 113,751 for three shows, the Eagles selling more than 23,000, Guns N’ Roses 15,000 and Snoop Dogg 22,000 and counting.
Dream Weekend producer Jonny Mack said ticket sales for the upcoming Snoop Dogg, Cardi B and Sublime With Rome concert are climbing.
Mack said the original goal for the Dec. 27 show was to sell 12,000 tickets. However, sales hit 15,000 over the Nov. 16 weekend, the first weekend that tickets were available, so 5,000 more tickets are set to be released.
“We met with the fire marshal so that we could add extra seats. Some additional tickets went on sale Friday, and I expect the majority will be released by Monday,” said Mack, who has run Hawaii concert and large-scale events with his partner, Mike Galmiche, since 2003. “We wanted to create a festival atmosphere with people standing, so our legal capacity is 27,000 tickets.”
“In Hawaii I’ve been accustomed to shows selling the week of the event, so having so many ticket sales a month out is really impressive,” he said.”We’ve been so successful that we are already making plans to return to the stadium in 2019. We’re not ready to announce it yet, but it will be big — along the caliber of Vegas’ Life Is Beautiful Music & Art Festival or California’s Coachella.”
ALOHA STADIUM ON A ROLL
>> Bruno Mars (three shows): 113,751
>> Eagles (Dec. 7): 23,000*
>> Guns N‘ Roses (Dec. 8): 15,000*
>> Snoop Dogg (Dec. 27): 22,000*
* Sales still pending
Source: Dream Weekend, Boxscore and Aloha Stadium
Mack said Aloha Stadium has been having a strong concert run since 2017 when he and his partners took a risk and successfully brought the Grammy-winning Chainsmokers — known for their “Closer” collaboration with Halsey and “Something Just Like This” with Coldplay — to headline the New Year’s Eve Party of the Year.
“Before Chainsmokers no one had done a proper concert inside Aloha Stadium for about 10 years,” Mack said. “You pay more for shows in Hawaii, so the break-even point is super high. There weren’t many people willing to take that risk, so the stadium was a relatively untested venue.”
The band U2, which played at the Aloha Stadium in 2006, drew 41,000 people, the stadium’s largest one-time show turnout. But was followed by a hiatus. Samantha Spain, Aloha Stadium’s sales and marketing specialist, said concerts have always been a focus for the stadium; however, in years past field construction and other timing issues may have interfered. For instance, the stadium tends to benefit when performers decide to stop on their way to or back from Asia, she said.
The hope is that momentum from several recent concerts in the back half of this year will carry over to next year and beyond, Spain said.
“Moving forward to 2019 our hope is that we can continue our partnership with Live Nation. We had promoter Tom Moffatt (who died in 2016 after a lengthy career) and we lost him. Now we also have promoters like Jonny Mack coming in and trying to bring bigger acts. We’re excited about the future,” she said.
Mack said Chainsmokers brought renewed focus to Aloha Stadium as a venue because the show’s success proved that the facility could handle sophisticated pyrotechnics, special effects and the larger sound systems that world-class shows require.
“Tom Moffatt was the godfather of bringing special talent to Hawaii. Hopefully, we can pick it up where he left off. Hawaii should be known not just for its beaches and awesome hikes and rich culture — it should be known for its fantastic entertainment, too,” Mack said.
The success of Live Nation’s decision to bring Bruno Mars to Hawaii for his “24K Magic World Tour” is an indication that Hawaii is on its way. Spain said final numbers aren’t yet available, but Mars is estimated to have attracted sold-out crowds of about 36,000 attendees during each of his Nov. 8, 10 and 11 performances.
“Bruno Mars is the one artist who has sold out the Aloha Stadium for three nights. He’s at the top of his game right now,” Spain said. “With Bruno it was definitely an eye-opener to show different concert promoters that we have the capability to handle such large-scale events.”
According to Aloha Stadium estimates, Michael Jackson drew 75,000 people when he sold out two Aloha Stadium shows during his 1997 “HIStory” tour. In comparison, Boxscore puts the Bruno Mars Hawaii count at 113,751 with revenue of nearly $12.4 million.
“Almost 10 percent of the islands saw Bruno Mars. That’s quite significant,” Mack said. “It was one of the fastest-selling shows that Live Nation has ever had. Then coming off that win, they are bringing Guns N’ Roses and the Eagles.”
Aloha Stadium manager Scott Chan said Thursday that sales for the Eagles, who are slated to perform Dec. 7, marking the band’s first performance in Honolulu in nearly 14 years, already have hit 23,000. Ticket sales have already reached 15,000 for Guns N’ Roses, who will perform at the stadium Dec. 8, Chan said.
Mack said part of the issue in Hawaii is getting the demographics and pricing right. Rapper Snoop Dogg and Cardi B, one of hip-hop’s hottest young stars, fit the bill for Hawaii’s mix of residents and tourists, he said.
“Tickets started at $49, but they went all the way up to $5,000 for a cabana and $2,500 for a VIP table. We’re almost sold out of the cabanas and tables,” Mack said. “We’ve also had quite a few transactions from outside of Hawaii. About 25 percent of our sales have come from Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the U.S. West Coast.”
Spain said tourism also played a role in sales for Bruno Mars as well as the Eagles and Guns N’ Roses.
Mufi Hannemann, president and CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, said concert tourism has been an underrepresented aspect of Hawaii’s visitor industry, and Aloha Stadium’s recent successes prove that it should take on a more prominent role.
“It’s obvious, based on these numbers, that we haven’t tapped the potential here,” Hannemann said. “We need to throw out the welcome mat to promoters, which means that we need to do everything that we can to make sure our facilities are in top condition. We’re not quite there yet, but it’s clear that we need to make it a high priority.”