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India live industry reports post-pandemic surge

Ticket sales reached 80% of last year's total within the first six months of 2023, according to entertainment giant BookMyShow

By James Hanley on 09 Aug 2023

Lollapalooza India

Lollapalooza India

India is enjoying a post-pandemic boom for live music, with ticket sales already approaching last year’s total within the first six months of 2023, according to BookMyShow.

The promoting and ticketing giant’s end-of-year report for 2022 showed that eight million fans flocked to the more than 19,000 live entertainment events held in the country, with over 500,000 concert-goers attending gigs by themselves.

And this year is shaping up to be even more successful, thanks to shows such as the debut edition of Lollapalooza India, which drew 60,000 people over two days, Backstreet Boys, who pulled in 25,000 across concerts at the Jio World Gardens, Mumbai and Airia Mall, Gurugram, and Bangalore Open Air, India’s biggest metal festival, which sold out for the first time in its 10-year history.

“The number of music events hosted and number of tickets sold for music shows have already touched 80% of the 2022 music events roster, within less than six months of 2023 on BookMyShow,” Owen Roncon, BookMyShow’s head of live music, tells The Independent.

The debut edition of Lollapalooza India drew 60,000 fans between 28-29 January, with 40 artists performing across four stages at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse Lawns in Mumbai. The event saw performances from local and international artists including Imagine Dragons, The Strokes, AP Dhillon, Cigarettes After Sex, Divine, the F16s, Jackson Wang, Imanbek, Greta Van Fleet, The Wombats and Diplo.

“India’s music landscape has witnessed meteoric growth in the past few years”

Roncon says live music is BookMyShow’s fastest-growing category, contributing to 25% of its revenue, and 15% of total ticket sales post-Covid, while 23% of Lollapalooza India registrations had come to the platform for the first time.

Insiders credit factors such as the “ever-evolving infrastructure for concerts and festivals” for the upward trajectory, including the development of purpose-built music venues like Mumbai’s Jio World Garden and the NSCI Dome, in addition to the enhanced demand generated by streaming.

The country was on a promising upswing just as the pandemic hit, having welcomed U2 to Mumbai’s DY Patil Stadium in January 2020, which followed visits by the likes of the Rolling Stones (Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai, 2003), Ed Sheeran (Mahalaxmi Race Course, Mumbai, 2015/Reliance Jio Garden, Mumbai, 2017) and Beyoncé (Antilia, Udaipur, 2018).

Post Malone also made his bow in the country last December, headlining the Zomato Feeding India Concert, which attracted 20,000 fans. Other events include the NH7 Weekender, VH1 Supersonic and Magnetic Fields Festival.

“India’s music landscape has witnessed meteoric growth in the past few years,” Kunal Khambhati, head of live events & IP at BookMyShow, told IQ earlier this year. “Slowly but steadily, the country has set the stage to become a keystone for some of the biggest music performances and markets in the world – from hosting acclaimed international and Indian independent artists at large concerts to smaller formats that are gradually shaping the music landscape in the country.


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