15 Biggest Concerts of All Time (2022 List)

Albums are great and all, but it’s impossible to beat the energy and passion at a live concert. Throughout time, people have loved sitting around listening to others play music. Of course, things have changed with the invention of amps, speakers, and microphones.

Now, music superstars can perform for bigger crowds than ever before, with some venues even climbing into the millions! How big are they, you ask? You’re in luck, We’ve compiled this list of the  15 biggest concerts of all time.

One of the Biggest Concerts of All Time

In this list, we’re going for the biggest and baddest concerts, no holds barred. These are the record-setters performed for masses that will go down in history as some of the greatest musical shows of all time. So, strap in.

List of the Largest Concerts Ever

1. Rod Stewart at Copacabana Beach (1994) – 4.2 million attendees

City Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Date December 31, 1994
Number of attendees 4.2 million
Artist Rod Stewart
Venue Copacabana Beach

If you think speaking to a room full of people is scary, imagine being Rod Stewart on December 31st, 1994. The British rocker was set to perform the New Year’s Eve show on the pristine Copacabana beach in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. New Year’s Eve fireworks shows already drew major crowds to the location, but adding a legendary rock star to the mix turned out to be a record-setting combination.

Much to everyone’s surprise, the New Year’s Eve concert drew out more than 4.2 million attendees, making it officially the largest concert of all time! It even earned a spot in the Guinness World Records.

Despite the inherent stage fright putting on the world’s largest concert might entail, Rod Stewart, put on one heck of a performance that left the quite-literal masses in a frenzy. It will forever go down as one of the best and largest musical performances of all time.

If you’re curious what 4.2 million people looks like, check out this video footage from Copacabana Beach on New Year’s Eve, 1994.

2. Jean Michel Jarre at State University of Moscow (1997) – 3.5 million attendees

City Moscow, Russia
Date September 6, 1997
Number of attendees 3.5 million
Artist Jean Michel Jarre
Venue State University of Moscow

In case you weren’t aware, Moscow is really old. Back in 1997, the city had its 850th birthday! To celebrate the momentous occasion, they needed a performance that would be just as momentous, and they found just the guy.

Jean Michel Jarre is a French pioneer in electronic music and, by that time, was well-renown for his incredible stage performances with full orchestras, lasers, fireworks, and light shows. If there was any musician who could create a worthy spectacle, it was him.

Even though Russia was still wary of outside visitors at the time, the mayor of Moscow reached out to Jarre to see if he was available. Jarre had just finished up his Oxygene Tour and agreed to put on the performance of a lifetime.

On September 6th, 1997, more than 3.5 million people came to the State University of Russia to watch and listen to Jean Michel Jarre’s electrifying performance. The show featured everything you’d expect from the master composer, including laser shows, fireworks, and even a direct satellite link with the Russian Space Station during the concert!

If you’re wondering what kind of show would attract such an incredible crowd, check out this video from the Moscow TV Broadcast, and you’ll see exactly what made this show so spectacular.

Of course, this wasn’t Jean Michel Jarre’s first run-in with million-plus person shows. In fact, he has broken the “largest concert” record several times over his incredible career. Out of the X concerts on this list, four are his! But we’ll get to those later.

3. Jorge Ben Jor at Copacabana Beach (1993) – 3 million attendees

City Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Date December 31, 1993
Number of attendees 3 million
Artist Jorge Ben Jor
Venue Copacabana Beach

Just one year before Rod Stewart’s record-setting performance, another musician set the record for the largest open-air concert in the exact same location. This time, it was Jorge Ben Jor.

Jorge Ben Jor is a Brazilian pop singer who mixes funk, rock, samba, and bossa nova to create uniquely Brazilian pieces that speak of the struggles of the country and the Brazilian way of life — often in humorous or satiric ways. He’s been a major part of several musical movements in Brazil since the 1960s.

In 1993, Jorge Ben Jor was booked to play the New Year’s Eve show at the iconic Copacabana Beach. The location was already a major tourist (and local) destination for the holiday, and city officials were hoping that hiring a major act would help draw in more tourists. It worked.

On New Year’s Eve, 1993, more than 3 million people crowded the Rio De Janeiro beaches to hear Jorge Ben Jor play his set. This was the first concert to ever break the 3 million attendee mark, and only a handful have beaten it ever since.

4. Jean Michel Jarre at La Défense (1990) – 2.5 million attendees

City Paris, France
Date July 14, 1990
Number of attendees 2.5 million
Artist Jean Michel Jarre
Venue La Défense

The brilliant mind of Jean Michel Jarre is at it again. This time, it was in Paris, France in 1990.

Four years before his record-setting performance at the State University of Moscow, Jean Michel Jarre was getting ready to perform in his native France for the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution, also known as Bastille Day. Again, a moment so historic needs a historic performance, and that’s exactly what he did.

Jarre’s free public concert on July 14th, 1990 featured a pyramidic stage designed specifically to fit in front of La Défense right between the Parisian skyline.

In typical Jarre fashion, the stage and surrounding skyscrapers were constantly lit up with lights, lasers, special effects, and around 65 tons of fireworks as electronic music filled the entire city. Oh yeah, and there were definitely giant metal puppets walking around during the entire two-hour performance!

This incredible spectacle drew in crowds from all over the city and surrounding areas. Estimates put attendance at around 2.5 million people, which was a world record at the time!

Since this is definitely one of those performances you have to see to believe, check out this video of the full concert.

But as mentioned before, this wasn’t Jean Michel Jarre’s first run-in with record-setting performances. He had already done it twice before and was ready to do it again in just seven years.

5. Monsters of Rock (1991) – 1.6 million attendees

City Moscow, Soviet Union
Date September 28, 1991
Number of attendees 1.6 million
Artist AC/DC, Metallica, Pantera, The Black Crowes, E.S.T.
Venue Tushino Airfield

Rock and roll has always been a unifying force, and on September 28, 1991, several world events collided to create one of the greatest rock concerts in the history of music.

The Monsters of Rock music festival was a yearly hard rock festival that got all the best heavy rock bands in the world together to play one epic concert. The festivals first started in England in 1980 and eventually spread to other cities around the world, including the Netherlands, Spain, Poland, Sweden, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and the United States.

After a few years of several individual festivals around the world, the various Monsters of Rock festivals came together for one mega concert in the Soviet Union in 1991.

There were plenty of speedbumps to get the festival together. The Soviet Union was struggling to maintain control of the country and tried to postpone the event several times. But if there’s one thing you know about hard rock fans, it’s not easy to stop them. The festival commenced on September 28, 1991, at the Tushino Airfield just outside of Moscow.

Headliners AC/DC, Metallica, Pantera, The Black Crowes, and E.S.T. played to an incredible crowd of 1.6 million fans — many of whom were angry locals who needed to let off some serious steam because of the political unrest. All the rage and emotion on the airfield that day, coupled with a few legendary rock bands, made for one incredible performance the world will never forget.

Although it’s not quite as good as being there in person, check out this video of the full-length 1991 Monsters of Rock performance (and try to hold back the goosebumps).

Just three months after the concert, the Soviet Union fell.

6. Love Parade Festival (2008) – 1.6 million attendees

City Dortmund, Germany
Date July 19, 2008
Number of attendees 1.6 million
Artist Various – Moby, Anja Schneider, Armin van Buuren, Audion, Carl Craig, DJ Hell, Dubfire, and more
Venue Bundesstraße 1 highway

The Love Parade is a major electronic music festival that takes place in Germany every year starting in 1989. It had its ups and downs, but every year, it became more and more popular. In 2008, the Love Parade reached its attendance peak.

The 2008 Love Parade took place in Dortmund, Germany on a closed-down highway. Because of the venue location, the motto for this year’s festival was the Highway of Love. The festival was actually a weekend-long parade with dozens of artists, vendors, and parties throughout the area, drawing in an incredible 1.6 million people.

Almost every artist at the Love Parade performs electronic music. The 2008 artist list included some of the top electronic artists in the world:

  • 2 Elements
  • Alex Bau
  • Moby
  • Alex M.O.R.P.H.
  • Anja Schneider
  • Armin van Buuren
  • Audion
  • Dubfire
  • And more

Although there were dozens of different concerts going on simultaneously over the weekend, 1.6 million attendees still makes it one of the largest concerts ever. And while it might not earn the top spot as the biggest concert of all time, the 2008 Love Parade does hold the world record for the largest parade in history.

Want to get a taste of what these festivities felt like? Check out this video highlighting the events from the incredible 2008 Love Parade.

7. Live 8 Philadelphia (2005) – 1.5 million attendees

City Philadelphia, PA, United States
Date July 2, 2005
Number of attendees 1.5 million
Artist Various – Kanye West, The Black Eyed Peas, Dave Matthews Band, Will Smith, Bon Jovi, Destiny’s Child, Toby Keith, Alicia Keys, Linkin Park, Def Leppard, Sarah McLachlan, Maroon 5, Keith Urban, Rob Thomas, Stevie Wonder, and more
Venue Philadelphia Museum of Art

Live 8 was a series of worldwide benefit concerts following the 2005 G8 conference summit. It was designed to raise awareness for the fight against poverty around the world. As an added bonus, it was also the 20th anniversary of the legendary 1985 Live Aid performance.

To follow in Live Aid’s footsteps, the 2005 Live 8 concert series brought in dozens of music superstars from all over the world to play concerts simultaneously throughout the day. The only venue to participate in the United States was the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Live 8 Philly (as it has become known) attracted tons of fan attention because of the incredible lineup set to perform over an incredible eight hours. Some of the acts included:

Because of the incredible acts, the Live 8 Philadelphia concert drew in more than 1.5 million fans that stretched down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for over a mile — and that doesn’t even count the millions tuning in on their TVs around the world.

Since it was a world televised event, there are tons of videos available online of the various performances. Check out this video of Keith Urban rocking the stage at Live 8 Philly.

8. The Rolling Stones at Copacabana Beach (2006) – 1.5 million attendees

City Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Date February 18, 2006
Number of attendees 1.5 million
Artist The Rolling Stones
Venue Copacabana Beach

In 2006, the Rolling Stones were off on their Bigger Bang world tour to promote their 24th studio album of the same name — which ended up being their last album with Charlie Watts on drums. You’d think after 44 years of playing together (at the time), there’s no way they could make even more of a bang than they already had. Well, they pulled it off.

On February 18, 2006, the Stones booked the legendary Copacabana Beach in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. You know, the venue that produced the most-attended concert of all time. Mix a great venue with a great band, and you get a great turnout.

More than 1.5 million fans turned out to see Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, and Charlie Watts take the stage and do what they’ve done best for over half a century. The result? One incredible show!

You can watch the entire performance in this video and see why the Brazilian crowd just couldn’t get enough satisfaction from the Rolling Stones.

9. Jean Michel Jarre at Rendez-vous Houston (1986) – 1.3 million attendees

City Houston, Texas, United States
Date April 5, 1986
Number of attendees 1.3 million
Artist Jean Michel Jarre
Venue Downtown Houston

The year was 1985. The city of Houston, Texas was celebrating its 150th anniversary, and they needed a big performance to really showcase the city. When you need a big performance, you turn to the one-and-only Jean Michel Jarre.

The concert was also supposed to celebrate the launch of the Challenger Space Shuttle launch, and NASA’s 25th anniversary, but after the shuttle exploded above the launch pad, it turned into a night of remembrance for those lost. Ron McNair, an astronaut who died in the Challenger disaster and a personal friend of Jarre’s, was even supposed to play saxophone from space during the concert.

For this concert, Jean Michel Jarre had the entire city as his stage. The event took place right in downtown Houston and was named the Rendez-vous Houston: A City in Concert. And that’s exactly what it was.

Massive canvases were hung from many of the skyscrapers in the city which showed light and laser shows synchronized to the electronic music. Spotlights and fireworks shot up all over the city as the entire skyline dazzled for this incredible performance. How many times in history has an entire city been the stage for a concert?

An approximate 1.3 million people showed up for the incredible spectacle, which was a world record at the time. Jarre even got his name in the Guinness Book of World Records. In the video of the concert, you can see miles of traffic in both directions trying to get into Houston to see the show — and who could blame them!?

The event was broadcast all over the world, making Jean Michel Jarre a bonafide mega-concert legend.

10. Paz sin Fronteras II (2009) – 1.1 million attendees

City Havana, Cuba
Date September 20, 2009
Number of attendees 1.1 million
Artist Various – Juanes (headliner)
Venue Plaza de la Revolución

In 2008, a major diplomatic crisis emerged in South America between the governments of Ecuador, Venezuela, and Columbia after Columbian forces invaded territory that belonged to Ecuador following the death of Raúl Reyes, the number two in the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces.

While the governments of the South American countries were at war, the people of the countries were largely against the actions of their respective governments. In 2009, musician Juanes organized a series of free outdoor concerts called Paz sin Fronteras, which translates to Peace without Borders, to promote a nonviolent message that all Latin and South American countries are brothers and should get along.

The first concert took place along the Colombian-Venezuela border and drew a crowd of around 300,000 people. While that might be impressive, it was nothing compared to the major turnout for the second concert of the series, Paz sin Fronteras II.

Paz sin Fronteras II took place in Cuba in front of the Plaza de la Revolución. It featured Juanes along with several other musicians from around South America and Latin America. This free concert drew in an incredible 1.1 million people, which is about 10% of the entire population of Cuba! Almost every single person wore white to symbolize peace.

The concert lasted a whopping 5.5 hours. It was definitely a musical event on a scale that hasn’t been seen before or since on the little island of Cuba. You can see the excitement of the massive concert in this video from the finale.

A third Paz sin Fronteras concert was planned for Caracas, Venezuela in 2013, but it never came to fruition.

11. The Beach Boys Independence Day Concert (1985) – 1 million attendees

City Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Date July 4, 1985
Number of attendees 1 million
Artist The Beach Boys (with special guests Jimmy Page, Joan Jett, Christopher Cross, Keith Knudsen, and others)
Venue Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia was one of the major sites of revolution during the American fight for independence back in 1776. Heck, that’s where the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution were signed! So it would only make sense that the city would go all-out in celebration of the 4th of July.

In 1985, the city of Philadelphia wanted to throw an epic 4th of July bash with a free concert filled with some of the biggest rock stars of the time, including Jimmy Page, Joan Jett, Christopher Cross, and others. But what could be more American than the headlining band: The Beach Boys!

The city was feeling the “good vibrations” that Independence Day because more than 1 million people showed up for the incredible event, making it one of the biggest concerts of all time.

If you want to get a feel for the energy during the performance, check out this video of The Beach Boys playing Little Richard’s song “Lucille” with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page shredding several solos.

12. Jean Michel Jarre Bastille Day (1979) – 1 million attendees

City Paris, France
Date July 14, 1979
Number of attendees 1 million
Artist Jean Michel Jarre
Venue Place de la Concorde

Even the masters of open-air mega-concerts have to start somewhere. For Jean Michel Jarre, it started on July 14, 1979 in Paris, France.

Bastille Day is a big holiday for the people of France, and they needed a larger-than-life performance to celebrate the holiday in style. Up to that point, Jean Michel Jarre had only played in a few rock bands throughout his teen, but he was about to set a new standard for open-air concerts.

The venue was in front of the Place de la Concorde in downtown Paris with plenty of room for tons of spectators. When Jarre took the stage, it was just him and his synthesizers. But of course, the show was anything but small.

In typical fashion (for the first time), Jarre lit up the entire city with lasers, light shows, and fireworks, captivating the hoards of onlookers. All in all, over 1 million people showed up to watch the incredible performance.

This was Jarre’s first open-air show and his first concert to break one million attendees. Not only was it personally record-breaking for Jarre, but the performance also made its way into the Guinness World Records as the largest concert at the time.

The show was such an astounding success that it drew the attention of cities all over the world and made Jarre a concert-creation visionary to be reckoned with. Whenever a city needed something incredible, they’d call Jarre. He would go on to break the largest concert record three more times over the course of his career!

If you want to catch a glimpse of the show that made Jarre a legend, check out this video of the entire performance from 1979.

13. Antonello Venditti (2001) – 1 million attendees

City Rome, Italy
Date June 24, 2001
Number of attendees 1 million
Artist Antonello Venditti
Venue Circus Maximus

European countries love their soccer. Everyone knows that. The only thing they love more than soccer is watching their team win. And what’s better than winning? Winning three annual championships — otherwise known as a scudetto.

In 2001, the Associazione Sportiva Roma soccer team (A.S. Roma) pulled off the miraculous feat of winning its third scudetto. Naturally, everyone in Rome was ecstatic, and they needed to celebrate with a major live performance.

Antonello Venditti is an Italian singer/songwriter who became famous in the 1970s for his hard-hitting songs that touched on countless social themes. Over the years, his popularity grew, and he became one of the biggest singers in all of Italy.

When A.S. Roma won their third championship, they naturally called Venditti to perform. In 2001 at the Circus Maximus, Venditti performed to a rowdy crowd of more than a million A.S. Roma fans. The concert was so big that it still holds the record for the busiest free concert to ever be held in Italy.

If you want to check out this energetic concert, here’s a clip from the performance.

14. The Black Eyed Peas at Copacabana Beach (2006) – 1 million attendees

City Kostrzyn nad Odrą, Poland
Date August 3, 2019
Number of attendees 1 million
Artist Prophets of Rage, Ziggy Marley (and many others)
Venue Pol’And’Rock Festival

The historic concert 1969 concert in Woodstock has inspired countless venues and musicians over the years, but one of the most successful variations of the iconic concert is perhaps the Pol’And’Rock festival — otherwise known as the Woodstock Festival Poland.

The Pol’And’Rock festival started in 1995 and has been a major annual event ever since. Acts from around the world come together to put on dozens of incredible performances over the course of the festival. In fact, the festival has an aggregate attendance of more than 750,000 people, making it one of the largest music festivals in the world.

In 2019, the Pol’And’Rock festival took “largest music festivals” to a new level. With incredible headliners including Ziggy Marley and rock supergroup Prophets of Rage, around 1 million people showed up to enjoy the festivities.

Want to get in on the action yourself? Listen to Tom Morello and his friends in the Prophets of Rage shred through their set in this video from the 2019 concert.

Honorable Mention: Live Aid (1985) – 1.9 billion viewers

City London, England and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Date July 13, 1985
Number of attendees 1.9 billion
Artist Various — Queen, Sting, Phil Collins, U2, Dire Straits, David Bowie, The Who, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Joan Baez, Billy Ocean, Black Sabbath, Run-D.M.C., The Beach Boys, Santana, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Madonna, Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, Hall & Oats, Bob Dylan, Mick Jaggar, and more
Venue The World

While it might not officially count as one of the largest concerts of all time in terms of attendance (since most people were just tuning in on their TVs), it’d be difficult to have a list of legendary mega-concerts without mentioning Live Aid from 1985.

In 1984, millions of people were starving to death in Ethiopia due to what has been described as a “biblical famine in the 20th century.” Millions of people from all over the world worked together to raise aid and awareness for those impacted. One of the biggest ideas was to throw a worldwide charity concert headlined by the biggest musicians around the world and have it broadcast simultaneously around the world from two stages in separate cities.

The two cities participating were London, England and Philadelphia, PA in the United States. Major music superstars took the stage in both cities, and the concerts were streamed live all over the world.

Here are just a few of the artists involved in the 1985 Live Aid concert:

In Wembley Stadium in London, around 72,000 people showed up to hear the acts live. In the U.S, almost 90,000 fans appeared at John F. Kennedy Stadium. While the combined 162,000 attendees is far from making a record, the 1.9 billion people watching live from their homes all over the world certainly would!

That’s right, 1.9 billion (with a B) was the estimated viewership for the Live Aid 1985 concert, which is around 40% of the entire Earth’s population! If that’s not enough for at least an honorable mention on a list of the biggest concerts of all time, nothing is.

While there were countless legendary musicians, Live Aid was also the incredible reunion of Queen with Freddie Mercury and his show-stopping performance that has been dubbed “the greatest live gig of all time.” It was so good, they had to make a movie out of it!

Watch Queen take the stage like never before in this video from Live Aid 1985, and you’ll easily see why 1.9 billion people just had to tune in and see it for themselves!

Quick Recap:

Event Attendance
Rod Stewart’s New Year’s Eve Concert at Copacabana Beach 4,200,000
Jean-Michel Jarre’s 850th Anniversary of Moscow Concert at State University of Moscow 3,500,000
Jorge Ben Jor’s New Year’s Eve Concert at Copacabana Beach 3,000,000
Jean-Michel Jarre’s Bastille Day concert at La Défense 2,500,000
Monsters of Rock concert at Tushino Airfield (AC/DC, Pantera, Metallica, The Black Crowes, E.S.T.) 1,600,000
Love Parade Festival at Bundesstraße 1 highway 1,600,000
Live 8 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art 1,500,000
The Rolling Stones, A Bigger Bang Tour at Copacabana Beach 1,500,000
Jean-Michel Jarre’s  Rendez-vous Houston in Downtown Houston 1,300,000
Paz Sin Fronteras II at Plaza de la Revolución 1,100,000
The Beach Boys Independence Day concert at the Philadelphia Museum of Art 1,000,000
Jean-Michel Jarre’s Bastille Day at Place de la Concorde 1,000,000
Antonello Venditti, AS Roma’s 3rd Serie A victory at Circus Maximus 1,000,000
The Black Eyed Peas New Year’s Eve concert at Copacabana Beach 1,000,000

Million-Plus Mega-Shows:

Large Concert

Gathering a million people in one place almost seems like an impossible task, but music is the great unifier. There have been several performances throughout history to achieve a million or more attendees, making them the largest concerts of all time. Will any venue be able to break Rod Stewart’s 4.2 million attendees? Only time will tell!

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