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Country Tours Among Top Grossing of 2008

Kenny Chesney and Rascal Flatts were in the Top 10 on Billboard's highest grossing tours of 2008 list. Chesney raked in $86 million and ranked at No. 6 while Rascal Flatts brought in $55.8 million and placed at No. 10. Miley Cyrus’ tour ranked No. 14 with her tour grossing $45 million.In spite of a hurting economy, the touring industry has set record grosses of about $4 billion, which is a 13 percent increase from last year. However, the attendance at North American concerts was down by about 2 percent from 2007. "It was a solid year for Country touring and a good year for touring overall, given the economic challenges that are out there. Most acts or their handlers would tell you that they had to work this year to keep the level of success they had, but they still managed to pull it off," said Ray Waddell, Billboard's senior editor, touring. Waddell also said that fans find Country tours to be a better valued ticket than tickets to pop and rock concerts."Chesney's run continues. He had a really strong year touring; they worked it hard," he said. "Rascal Flatts still hasn't peaked. They have shown that they have legs out there, which is important,” Waddell said. “Brad Paisley had a really good year. He was just under the Top 25, and some of that may have had to do with the time frame of when the dates took place (compared to the reporting period). He is still on the upswing. I think his biggest days are still ahead of him, for sure."Toby Keith (No. 23 at $31.7 million) doesn’t always get the credit for whatever reason, but the guy is a powerhouse on the road,” Waddell continued. “He had another great year and he has a very loyal following that continues to support him."Country has been really good. It's not only building new headliners but keeping them there. They tour a lot, so you've got to provide value to give fans what they want to go back year after year."Bon Jovi was the top touring act of 2008 with a tour gross of $210.6 million, just ahead of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band's $204.5 million. Other top grossing tours belonged to Madonna ($162 million), the Police ($150 million), Celine Dion ($91 million), Neil Diamond ($81.2 million), Spice Girls ($70 million) and the Eagles ($56.6 million).