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Concerts and live entertainment looking strong for 2023

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The latter part of 2022 was a good year for live entertainment with venues bringing in new acts and promoters rescheduling those postponed shows due to the pandemic and they said the momentum will continue into the new year. 

From surprise throwbacks like the New Kids on the Block and TLC, to classics like Journey, the event’s calendar was full for most of 2022. 

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Concert promoter Rick Bartalini said they had a successful 2022. Bartalini said, “In a five-month period, from August through December we had our best sales ever. We sold over 30,000 tickets more than any other promoter in the state.”

The fall and winter months saw many new shows announced. Hawaii Theatre Center President and CEO Gregory Dunn said some of those shows were acts that had to be rescheduled at the height of COVID. 

Dunn said, “We had to reschedule so many shows from 2020 and 2021 into the last half of 2022, so we did have shows one right on top of the other meeting not only patron’s expectations but also those of some of the licensees, people that rented the theater to put on their own shows.”

The Hawaii Theatre expects a busier 2023 with more than 230 dates already scheduled for the new year. 

“Hopefully this time next year we will be at a point where we consider ourselves fully recovered,” Dunn said. “The Hawaii Theatre has about six million dollars of loss that we accumulated during COVID through 22 months of shutdown.”

Jo Koy and Pitbull are just some of the acts coming to the Blaisdell Arena next year, but the Blaisdell expects a pause in events at some point next Spring. Scheduled renovations are expected to begin at the concert hall and arena. 

Bartalini said that should not be an issue for planning future shows, the Waikiki Shell is a viable option. 

He said, “The Shell is an option they can fit 8 thousand people there which is actually more than the arena.” 

For now, several shows are planned for New Year’s Eve, including Tom Segura at the Hawaii Theatre and the Bill Maher show that is going into its 11th year. 

The live entertainment industry is looking to surpass this year’s number of tickets sold, but a lot will depend on who is playing. 

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Bartalini said, “It all depends on who’s touring and who we can get to come here and how financially viable that is for them.”