Biggest concert ever: 10 largest events in history by attendance

Biggest concert ever: 10 largest events in history by attendance

Music is a universal language that speaks to everyone. And there's no better way for artists and music lovers to connect and create memories than at concerts. While concerts are typically held in stadiums or arenas that limit attendance to tens of thousands, some special occasions call for open-air venues. Throughout history, numerous monumental open-air music concerts have drawn massive crowds, some even millions. What was the biggest concert ever attended?

largest concert attendance
A group of people at a concert. Photo:, @mikky-k
Source: UGC

Every artist dreams of attracting a record-breaking turnout at their event. The sheer magnitude of concert-goers is not only a testament to a memorable, striking performance, but the collective gathering sets an artist apart from others in terms of cultural significance. The legendary Rod Stewart, for instance, made it into The Guinness Book of Records for attracting the largest crowd at a concert. This article explores the 10 largest concerts ever held, ranked by attendance.

Top 10 biggest concerts ever

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Concerts are to the music industry, and theatres are to the film industry. Beyond fans meeting their favourite singers, they enjoy the remarkable light shows, lasers, fireworks, and full-stage orchestras renowned at concerts. What was the biggest concert ever?

1. Rob Stewart's Copacabana New Year's Eve Concert – 3.54 million

  • Location: Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Date: 31 December 1994 – 1 January 1995
  • Event: New Year's Eve
  • Artist: Rob Stewart

Arguably the most famous in the world, Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro–with a coastline of 4 kilometres–has etched its name into the history books as an impressive concert location. One is Rob Stewart's free concert, which still holds the top spot in the Guinness Book of Records for the world's biggest concert.

An estimated 3.54 million people flocked to the beach to witness the energetic performance of the legendary British singer, although some people reckon over 4 million were present. Rob Stewart treated attendees to a spectacular show and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 for putting up one of the largest solo-artist concerts in history.

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2. Jean-Michel Jarre's 850th anniversary of the Moscow concert – 3.5 million

  • Location: State University of Moscow, Russia
  • Date: 6 September 1997
  • Event: 850th Anniversary of Moscow
  • Artist: Jean-Michel Jarre

Moscow, one of the oldest cities in the world, marked its 850th anniversary in 1997. To celebrate this momentous occasion, the city's mayor hired Jean-Michel Jarre–a French pioneer in electronic music–to put up a show of a lifetime.

He found the right guy, performing to a record 3.5 million people at Russia's State University. The attendance surpassed expectations, breaking his record for most people at a concert.

3. Jorge Ben Jor's Copacabana New Year's Eve Concert – 3 million

  • Location: Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Date: 31 December 1993 – 1 January 1994
  • Event: New Year's Eve
  • Artist: Jorge Ben Jor

Copacabana Beach has proven to be an excellent concert location, hosting several world's biggest concerts in history. On December 31, 1993–a year before Rob Stewart's record-breaking performance, Jorge Ben Jor set the record for the largest concert attendance in the same venue.

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As a famous holiday destination, the city's authorities booked a major Brazilian act in Jorge Ben Jor to draw more tourists. He delivered on that front, creating a memorable show that became the first-ever concert to draw more than 3 million people.

4. Jean-Michel Jarre's 200th-anniversary concert (Bastille Day) – 2.5 million

  • Location: La Defense District in Paris, France
  • Date: 14 July 1990
  • Event: Bastille Day
  • Artist: Jean-Michel Jarre

Jean-Michel Jarre's brilliant mind was at it again, putting up a show that drew most people to a concert. On July 14, 1990, he turned the La Defense district of the city of Paris into a concert arena.

The concert was organized to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution (also called Bastille Day). Jarre mesmerized a 2.5 million audience with an innovative mix of technology and visual effects.

5. Monsters of Rock Moscow Concert – 1.6 million

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  • Location: Tushino Airfield, Moscow, Soviet Union
  • Date: 28 September 1991
  • Event: Monsters of Rock concert
  • Artist: Various (Headlined by AC/DC & Metallica

Monsters of Rock was a groundbreaking event held in Tushino Airfield, Moscow, shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union. With an estimated crowd of 1.6 million, it was not only the first major rock and heavy metal concert in Russia but one of the biggest concerts in history. The event featured notable bands, including Metallica, AC/DC, and Pantera.

6. Love Parade Festival (2008) – 1.6 million

  • Location: Dortmund, Germany.
  • Date: 19 July 2008
  • Event: Love Parade Festival
  • Artist: Various (Headlined by Armin van Buuren and Moby

The Love Parade is a major music concert in Germany every year since 1989. The event draws electronic music lovers from all over the world and reached its peak attendance in 2008.

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On this edition, the Love Parade was held on a section of a closed highway, drawing 1.6 million attendees to become one of the biggest concerts of all time. Top electronic artists headlined it, including Anja Schneider, Moby, 2 Elements, Armin van Buuren, etc.

7. The Rolling Stones' Copacabana Beach concert – 1.5 million

  • Location: Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Date: 18 February 2006
  • Event: A Bigger Bang world tour concert
  • Artist: The Rolling Stones

The Copacabana Beach was at it again, hosting one of the most attended concerts in the world. To promote their 24th studio album, the Rolling Stones booked the famous Copacabana Beach and produced a spectacular performance in front of a record-breaking 1.5 million people. Their Big Bang tour included stops in Japan, New Zealand, and London, raking a staggering $440 million.

8. Live 8 Concert Philadelphia concert – 1.5 million

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  • Location: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, USA
  • Date: 2 July 2005
  • Event: Live 8 concert
  • Artist: Various (Headlined by Stevie Wonder, Adam Levine, & Will Smith)

Live 8 was a series of concerts held in different locations worldwide to raise awareness about global poverty and promote social justice. The largest of such events was held in Philadelphia, where it attracted more than a dozen superstars and drew a remarkable 1.5 million concert-goers. The historic event featured live performances from acts like Kanye West, Coldplay, Keith Urban, Madonna, Stevie Wonder, and more.

9. Jean-Michel Jarre’s Rendez-vous Houston concert – 1.3 million

  • Location: Downtown Houston, Texas, USA.
  • Date: 5 April 1986
  • Event: Rendezvous Houston concert
  • Artist: Jean-Michel Jarre

The city of Houston was celebrating its 150th anniversary, while NASA wanted to mark its 25th anniversary since the launch of the Challenger Space Shuttle. To mark the occasion, the organizers turned to the one-and-only Jean-Michel Jarre.

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Alongside his electrifying performance, the city's skyscrapers showcased fireworks and light shows that dazzled the skyline, pulling in 1.3 million. Folks travelled far and wide to witness one of the biggest concerts in the world.

10. Paz Sin Fronteras Concert II – 1.1 million

  • Location: Plaza de la Revolution, Havana, Cuba
  • Date: 20 September 2009
  • Event: Paz sin Fronteras II
  • Artist: Various (Headlined by Juanes)

Paz Sin Fronteras II, translated to "The peace without borders concerts", were a series of free outdoor concerts organized by Colombian musician Juanes to push for peace in the wake of a 2008 diplomatic crisis that hit three South American governments of Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela. One such concert drew an incredible 1.1 million people, earning a place on the list of the biggest concerts of all time.

While gathering a million or more people in one place seems impossible, music is a great unifier that can surpass expectations. The collective memories of music enthusiasts are made at concerts. There have been monumental concert performances in history that have attracted millions of attendees, making them the biggest concerts ever.

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Mercy Mbuthia avatar

Mercy Mbuthia (Lifestyle writer) Mercy Mbuthia is a content writer with five years of experience writing on various topics, including biographies, entertainment, and lifestyle. She joined the Legit team in 2019. Mercy earned a Master of Science (Food, Nutrition & Dietetics) from Dedan Kimathi University in 2022. Her articles have appeared on several media sites such as The Health Channel, The Nation, Tekrati, ValiantCEO and Celebrity Leader. In 2023, Mercy finished the AFP course on Digital Investigation Techniques. Email:

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