The Grateful Dead played to an estimated 25 million people over their career — more than any other band in history. In 1998, The Guinness Book of World Records certified that the band had played the “most rock concerts ever performed” at the time, with 2,318. The Grateful Dead played to one of the biggest audiences ever recorded for a live event at Summer Jam at Watkins Glen in 1973, to an estimated 600,000 people. In the 1990’s, the Grateful Dead made a total revenue of $285 million from touring, making them the highest-grossing American band of the decade, and the second-highest grossing band in the world, only behind The Rolling Stones. What makes that statistic even more remarkable is lead guitarist Jerry Garcia died in 1995, meaning they achieved this feat in the first half of the decade alone.
In this lesson, students look at the accomplishments of the Grateful Dead through a mathematical lens by calculating the efforts the band put forth to become a success.