Why Do So Few Bands Bring Their Tours to Las Vegas?

I’ve always had trouble answering questions such as, “Who is your favorite music artist?” or “What type of music do you like?” I’ve always liked less popular music, the bands or artists you don’t ever hear on the radio. It’s hard for me to describe the type of music I listen to because the bands I like sound so different from one another and none of them fall into one genre. Music genres are becoming more complicated each day, with new bands creating their own unique and obscure styles. Many new artists associate their music with a variety of different tag words, each particular to a certain sound, instead of classifying themselves into one broad genre like ‘indie rock’ or ‘electronica.’ I honestly no longer know how pop, hip-hop, indie rock or electronic genres sound because today they are comprised of so many complex and very specific variations – for example: dream pop, futurepop, chillwave, electro swing, witch house, dubstep, etc. The list is enormous and endless.

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Photo Credit: Alex Luyckx (License)

Being a fan of such music, I’ve come to realize that the majority of these lesser-known artists rarely make a tour stop in Vegas. It’s likely that I would have to drive to California to see a favorite artist. But Las Vegas is such a well-known city, with such a large entertainment industry, that it would seem like a popular place for musicians to perform. Unfortunately for many of my local friends and myself, this isn’t the case. So I wonder: why isn’t Las Vegas a more popular place for bands to visit on tour?

I came across an interesting study done by the University of Tennesseein which they studied the touring schedules of 16 bands, all on independent record labels and many that I count among my favorite artists. The results revealed the top five venues in the top five states. It was hardly a surprise that California and New York were the most toured states, which could be attributed to the majority of bands actually originating from these states. Following California and New York were Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Nevada was one of the lowest states on the list, with the selected bands playing only 8 shows here in town.

Perhaps part of the reason lesser known bands shun Las Vegas is because the city produces few popular artists. Richard Florida in the The Washington Monthly created an index to rank the creativity of the 49 largest metropolitan areas. The top 10 cities were mostly in California, Texas and New York. Sadly, Las Vegas ranked 47 out of 49. This makes me think that a lack of creativity yields fewer native musicians, meaning fewer creative musicians coming from our city. This goes in hand with Las Vegas lacking a good scene for startup artists. Perhaps adding smaller venues where local bands would be welcome could help foster more creativity.

I do believe over the last few years that creativity in Las Vegas has become more apparent, and that the local music scene is slowly improving and bringing more artists to our city. For example, the renovation of Downtown has opened up smaller venues that embrace local and lesser-known bands. Brooklyn Bowl at the Linq has also been successful so far in including smaller, Las Vegas-based bands into its lineup. Some of my favorite bands that I had never expected to see live are finally coming to Las Vegas to play at Brooklyn Bowl. So even though we have a long ways to go, I think things are beginning to look up. I’m excited to see which artists will choose to perform in Las Vegas in the future.