George Strait was presented the 2013 Billboard Legend of Live honor during the 10th annual Billboard Touring Awards ceremony Thursday night (Nov. 14) at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City.
Taylor Swift‘s Red tour received the top package award as the top-grossing tour with three or more artists on the bill. The arena tour featured a rotating lineup of support acts, including Florida Georgia Line, Brett Eldredge, Casey James, Joel Crouse and Ed Sheeran.
Earlier in the week, Florida Georgia Line and special guest Thomas Rhett performed at AEG Live’s Best Buy Theater in New York as part of the trade publication’s annual touring conference. The duo’s headlining show benefited Musicians on Call, a nonprofit organization that brings live and recorded music to patients in healthcare facilities throughout the nation.
The Billboard Touring Awards honor the concert industry’s top artists, venues and professionals for their accomplishments during the past year. Bon Jovi’s Because We Can tour won top tour honors as the top-grossing tour. Other winners included Pink, the Rolling Stones and One Direction.
In accepting his award, Strait noted he began touring more than 30 years ago.
“I played the bars and honky-tonks and stuff in the ’70s,” he told the crowd. “I finally signed with MCA in 1981 and started realizing my dream of going out on tour and playing for the fans out there and started gathering more fans and playing so many of these venues I’ve seen tonight. … It’s just been a wonderful career.”
Strait plans to retire from widespread touring when his Cowboy Rides Away tour concludes next year.