George Strait, Taylor Swift earn Billboard Touring Awards
Stephen L. Betts
Ethan Miller/Getty Images Photo: Video by YouTube
George Strait and Taylor Swift represented the country-music contingent at the 10th annual Billboard Touring Awards. Held Thursday night at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York, the awards show was hosted by Gary Dell'Abate (aka "Baba Booey"), executive producer of Howard Stern's radio show. The awards honor the concert industry's top artists, venues and professionals for the year, primarily based on the Billboard Boxscore chart and box office performance.
The reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year was named 2013 Billboard Legend of Live. "I feel like I fit right in here," George said (quote via Billboard). "I started touring about 1890 -- well, it feels like that anyway. I started touring in 1981 ... playing for the fans out there and started gathering more fans and playing so many of these venues I've seen tonight."
Noting the name of his particular honor, the Country Music Hall of Fame member said, "It's just been a wonderful career. Then they told me I was gonna get the Legend of Live Award, we were joking 'LOL,' you know. I thought 'OMG. WTF.' And BTW, I got a lot of people to thank for this. I tell ya, I've been touring so long that I kinda got it through the years. Part of it got a little hard for me and the burnout thing was happening. I've always loved the shows -- don't get me wrong, but all the other stuff that goes along with it I kinda got tired of."
Taylor Swift's Red tour earned the Top Package Award, which honors the top-grossing tour with three or more artists on the bill. Other acts on the trek included Florida Georgia Line, Brett Eldredge, Casey James, Joel Crouse and Ed Sheeran.
Click here for a complete list of Billboard Touring Award winners.