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  • Hannah Wiley

Why don’t more concerts come to Buffalo?

By: Hannah Wiley, Assistant Features Editor 

Over the weekend I went to the Luke Combs concert at Highmark Stadium. While I was there, Features Editor Maddy Lockwood made a really good point: why don’t more big artists come to Buffalo on tour? So I’m here to tell you some of the reasons I think Buffalo, specifically Highmark Stadium, isn't the first choice when it comes to choosing venues for a tour. 

Let's start off by pointing out that this is not an issue that’s gone unnoticed by the Buffalo natives. Just a few months ago when Taylor Swift came to Buffalo to watch the Chiefs play, several Swifties in attendance made signs, basically saying that this was their Buffalo revenge tour for the Eras Tour skipping over Buffalo. 

Stadium capacity: The first thing I looked into was the capacity of Highmark stadium in comparison to other football stadiums often used to hold concerts. However, what I found was surprising. Highmark Stadium is actually in the top 10 for the biggest NFL stadiums, at least capacity-wise. What was especially surprising was that stadiums like SoFi and the Lincoln Financial Field, which are often popular concert spots, were actually ranked lower.

Concert capacity: After learning that Highmark actually has a bigger capacity than I originally thought, I started looking into alternatively the concert capacity for each stadium. This is where I started to get somewhere. Highmark Stadium rarely holds a concert over the maximum capacity of around 70-75,000 people, with notable concerts being One Direction in 2015 (38,137 attendees), NSYNC in 2001 (43-55,000), The Rolling Stones in 1997 (30-35,000) / 2015 (49,552). The biggest concert ever held at Highmark was The Jacksons in 1984 (94,000). 

A stadium often used as a concert venue is The Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. Ranked #13 on the list of biggest NFL stadiums, four places behind Highmark, the venue itself has nearly double the capacity for concerts. Notable concerts that have been held here are One Direction in 2014 and 2015, with the highest capacity being 101,527, and Taylor Swift in 2014, 2015 and 2018 with all three concerts reaching a capacity of over 100,000 people. 

Another common NFL stadium used to hold concerts is MetLife in East Rutherford, N.J. which is the stadium ranked #1 for biggest NFL stadiums. One Direction performed there in 2014 and 2015 with a capacity of almost 150,000 in 2014, and Taylor Swift performed there in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2018, with the biggest capacity reaching almost 170,000 people.

Location: Besides Highmarks’ lower concert capacity in comparison to other stadiums, the location is a red flag that flies higher and shines brighter than anything else to artists looking for locations on tour. Most NFL stadiums are located in major cities such as Philadelphia, Charlotte, Tampa and Houston. Highmark, however, is not only located in a suburb of the home city but is also located in a very residential area in Orchard Park, NY. Other stadiums like MetLife are similar in the sense that they are located outside of a major city.

So, the question still arises, what’s so wrong with Highmark’s location? Well, anyone who has been in the area whether to attend a Bills game or simply to get stuck in the traffic knows that parking for the Bills games means parking on people's lawns. This isn’t a problem during the football season, but just imagine if someone like Taylor Swift came and attracted over 100,000 people to the small residential area of Orchard Park. Things would get crazy very fast.

Even with what seems like the odds all stacked against Buffalo, there are still people who love and appreciate this city enough to come and give us a good concert (thank you, Luke Combs). However, for the time being, it looks like we are all going to have to accept that our concert fun will have to be at Darien Lake or in Toronto. 

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