It’s not the holiday season until that one local radio station begins playing beloved Christmas tunes nonstop for more than a month, and it’s likely Pentatonix’s hits take up a portion of that air time.
The popular a cappella group has been a mainstay in the holiday music industry the past eight years, but the artists have leveled up with a larger presence this winter. In addition to releasing their sixth Christmas album, Holidays Around the World, and premiering an unscripted special, “Around the World for the Holidays,” on Disney+, Pentatonix embarked on their most ambitious tour yet with “A Christmas Spectacular.”
Coming off the heels of a Grammy nomination for best traditional vocal pop album for Evergreen, Pentatonix began a 22-date arena tour at the Bay Area’s Oakland Arena on Nov. 17, and the final stop will be at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, on Dec. 22, which is sold out.
Co-manager Peter Katsis tells Pollstar that everyone’s efforts have paid off, with nearly 200,000 tickets sold and more than $15 million grossed in ticket sales on the brief tour. He and co-manager Joel Mark credit Creative Artists Agency for Pentatonix’s continued touring growth.
“This year’s Christmas tour was Pentatonix’s first full arena tour, so the group and our whole team took on the challenge of making this as special as possible,” Katsis says. “We felt that by presenting a truly amazing and groundbreaking show, both musically and visually, along with great support, we could offer top value for the ticket price and a full evening of entertainment like nothing that had ever been seen before in holiday and family-based entertainment.”
Mark adds that the band’s longtime record label, RCA, was also key to the success of the tour in coordinating the release of the new holiday album, which features classic Christmas tunes and three originals with guest appearances from Meghan Trainor and other international artists. Collaborating with a variety of musical acts not only added Pentatonix to more playlists on music streaming platforms, but boosted ticket sales.
“Shreya Ghoshal [of India] had 1 billion streams in 2022 on Spotify, and Lea Salonga [of the Philippines] has a monster streaming song as the Disney Princess Jasmine from the ‘Aladdin’ soundtrack, so we likely have created new PTX fans and reminded more casual PTX listeners of the new album and tour,” Mark says.
Ambition also came from Pentatonix’s team in helping to design the tour and have the show reflect the visual aesthetic of the album. Katsis said the tour’s set designer, Jason Ardizzone-West, offered a pioneering approach to creating visual depth. Ardizzone-West and his production crew created a 50-foot multifaceted snowflake with smaller versions of five unique snowflake designs — one for each member of the group — and lights were integrated into the snowflake sculptures to create a blurring of lines between lighting and scenery. A circular LED screen behind the performers adds additional geometric lighting as well as video content.
“The entire rig has the unique flexibility to create a wide variety of arena-scale radially symmetrical glittering and glowing snowflakes, or evoke sacred architecture, fun candy cane swirls, intimate scenes of shimmering winter wonderland as well as asymmetrical compositions of moving shafts of light,” Ardizzone-West says.
Mark also gives props to creative directors Lindsey Blaufarb and Craig Hollamon for adding “great flare” to the show, which includes choreography from the famous TikTok duo known as Cost n’ Mayor.
“We were looking to create a journey of emotional and visual magic, keeping it intimate yet grand at the same time,” Blaufarb says. “Taking Pentatonix’s intricate a cappella arrangements to be both visual and visceral, so much that you forget it’s a cappella, and transporting you into their world of sound, storytelling and pure talent.”
For Pentantoix and everyone else involved, the big tour was ultimately about one thing: spreading Christmas cheer through music.
“This is a show that makes people happy and allows them to forget about any problems in the world or their own lives and just enjoy the music for a few hours,” Mark says. “I think the ability of Pentatonix to not only revise Christmas classics for a capella performance, but also write new Christmas songs that feel familiar, brings the audience to a place of pure joy. … No one else could perform these songs this way, so listeners are happily focused. Familiarity crossed with many new twists is a stunning combination.”