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Happy H.O.R.D.E. Goes Home
by Marcus Errico
E! Online, National
Aug 31st, 1996

The H.O.R.D.E. grooves might be ending soon, but the musicians - and accountants - are bound to be smiling when the fifth annual jam-fest wraps up its 41-date, nine-week run Sunday in West Palm Beach. The show culminates the best year yet for the Blues Traveler-helmed tour.

Traveler's harp-wailing frontman, John Popper, founded H.O.R.D.E. (an acronym for Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere) in 1992 as an alternative to Lollapalooza. "You go to Lollapalooza expecting something you've seen before," Popper told Rolling Stone earlier this summer. "With us, you're going to see something that's inherent to you, music for your soul... Music to get drunk and scam on the opposite sex with."

Popper and company capitalized on the absence of the Grateful Dead this summer. With little competition for the neo-hippies, this year's incarnation has been its most successful, according to concert tracker Pollstar. It has sold more than 17,000 tickets and grossed in excess of $500,000 per show. With receipts yet to be tallied for the final weekend, Pollstar says H.O.R.D.E. is the fifth biggest moneymaker this concert season. These figures easily top last year's previous best, when H.O.R.D.E. averaged $356,000 in 23 cities, finishing 33rd among the top 50 concert acts of the summer.

But the musicians say it's not the money that matters. Blues Traveler guitarist Chan Kinchla said his band and others participate in H.O.R.D.E. for "the right reasons," mainly to "share musical ideas, check out other bands and try and make the other bands look bad." Those sentiments were echoed by 311 bassist P-Nut, who relishes "all the different places, all the different bands, all the different kinds of pot."

Neil Young, Natalie Merchant, Rickie Lee Jones, 311 and the Spin Doctors were among those who joined H.O.R.D.E. mainstays Blues Traveler, Lenny Kravitz, Rusted Root and Son Volt this summer, playing to sold-out crowds across the country.