RodeoHouston's Elusive Lightning in a Bottle: a Look Back at Top Music Acts

What does it take to break attendance records at RodeoHouston? Luke Bryan seems to know.
What does it take to break attendance records at RodeoHouston? Luke Bryan seems to know. Photo by Christi Vest
Everybody knows that when it comes to paid rodeo/concert attendance at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Go Tejano Day — the most popular of RodeoHouston's themed days — almost always knocks it out of the park. El gran día celebrates the Hispanic culture that is so deeply ingrained in our region's heritage.

So we'll give the gold medal to those Tejano acts who have graced the rotating stage, securing the top spot in attendance for six out of the past ten years: Calibre 50 (75,565 in attendance), Banda El Recodo with Siggno (75,557), Banda Los Recoditos with Los Huracanes Del Norte (75,508), La Arrolladora Banda El Limon with La Maquinaria Nortena (75,357), Julion Alvarez with Los Invasores de Nuevo Leon (75,305), and Banda MS and Pesado (75,224).

But where does that leave entertainers from other genres? Bringing home the silver sure beats a swift boot kick in the Wrangler jeans — especially in Texas where everything's bigger and better — so we're taking a look at top non-Tejano acts that still shine like a polished Cody James belt buckle.
With Ariana Grande almost getting U.K.'s Christmas No. 1 (were it not for one sausage roll-loving prankster), and Maroon 5 headlining the Super Bowl LIII halftime (while learning the hard lesson that haters gonna hate), it's easy to look at this list and see how organizers were able to topple attendance records, time and time again. Rodeo season is almost upon us y'all and with both Luke Bryan and George Strait on the schedule, lightning just might strike again.

10. Usher, March 7, 2014, 75,067 in attendance

9. Ariana Grande, March 17, 2015, 75,068 in attendance

8. Brad Paisley, March 21, 2015, 75,167 in attendance

7. Bruno Mars, March 7, 2013, 75,177 in attendance

6. Maroon 5, March 13, 2014, 75,214 in attendance

5. Pitbull, March 14, 2013, 75,217 in attendance

4. Blake Shelton, March 15, 2013, 75,238 in attendance

3. Luke Bryan (triple threat); March 16, 2013, 75,242; March 10, 2016, 75,082; March 17, 2014, 75,078 in attendance

2. Garth Brooks, March 18, 2018, 75,577 in attendance

1. George Strait, Martina McBride and Randy Rogers Band, March 17, 2013, 80,020 (concert only), NRG Stadium attendance record

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo runs February 25 through March 17, 2019. Visit
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Susie Tommaney is a contributing writer who enjoys covering the lively arts and culture scene in Houston and surrounding areas, connecting creative makers with the Houston Press readers to make every week a great one.
Contact: Susie Tommaney