Wolf Trap sold 345,578 tickets in 2011, and officials there believe its third-place ranking is its highest ever on the Pollstar chart. The only places with more sales were DTE Energy Music Theatre (formerly Pine Knob) outside of Detroit, and Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Denver. Just behind Wolf Trap were such renowned venues as Riverbend in Cincinnati (fourth), the Greek Theatre in L.A. (sixth), the Hollywood Bowl (11th) and the 1-800 Ask-Gary Amphitheatre (How could I possibly make that up?) in Tampa, which placed 27th.
Among other local amphitheaters, Live Nation Disaster Hole (formerly known as Nissan Pavilion and to some as Jiffy Lube Live) in Bristow was 26th with 147,870 sold; Farm Bureau Live at Virginia Beach (What is going on with these names?) was 18th with 172,353 sold, and Merriweather Post Pavilion (under consideration to become the Extra Wide Shoes.com Now! Pavilion) was 24th with 150,305 sold. (The full rankings are not available online.) (And I made up the part about Extra Wide Shoes.com Now!)
It may not be completely fair to compare Wolf Trap, which brings in touring plays, operas and dance troupes for extended visits, with some more exclusively concert-oriented places. But to see it rise above venues from the United States, Australia, Canada, Chile and Germany AND the Comfort Dental Amphitheatre (seriously??) in Englewood, Colo., is still a point of pride for our hidden gem in the Vienna woods.
Here’s Lyle Lovett, a Wolf Trap regular and guaranteed crowd pleaser, from last April in the Filene Center: