Shaerby Flores knew she won the jackpot when she found out she would be seeing Ed Sheeran live at the Yaamava’ Resort & Casino. It was a stroke of luck to catch the British pop superstar at a 3,000-capacity nightclub, a far cry from the stadium shows he usually plays. “I would have been in the nosebleeds if I’d seen Ed in Vegas,” said Flores. Despite the thrills of this smaller venue, Sheeran has been in high demand, having sold out the 81,000-capacity SoFi Stadium in Inglewood in September.
The presence of big-name acts like Sheeran, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Killers, and Janet Jackson at the Yaamava’ Resort & Casino has raised questions about the perceived glamour of performing at casinos. This trend is becoming more common as casinos in California are flush with cash and looking to draw in younger audiences. With more than 80 tribal casinos in the state, Yaamava’ Resort & Casino, in particular, boasts over 7,000 slot machines, representing a lucrative source of income. Properties like Pechanga, Agua Caliente, and Morongo have become popular venues for musicians.
The live music industry has been revived post-pandemic, with Live Nation reporting significant revenue gains. This has created an opportunity for casinos like Yaamava’ to vie for top acts during their off-cycle from headline tours. By investing heavily in marketing and building state-of-the-art venues, Yaamava’ has been able to attract big names and generate substantial revenue. Rick Springfield, who has played at various casinos throughout his career, expressed appreciation for the ease and comfort that comes with performing at these venues.
Yaamava’ Resort & Casino’s $750-million renovation and rebrand has positioned it as a desirable venue for top artists. The newly built theater has been a game-changer, and the casino has partnered with Live Nation to secure big acts. Although the presence of casinos in the live music circuit may seem unconventional, it is undeniable that the big paychecks offered to artists make it an irresistible proposition. With the potential for seven-figure guarantees, artists like Ed Sheeran and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are finding the appeal of casino gigs hard to resist despite the unconventional setting.