Ed Sheeran, who once opened stadium shows for Taylor Swift, had a record-breaking year, headlining stadiums across the globe. (Getty Images)

Flush times lead to full tills. During a year when tax cuts and near-record lows in unemployment grabbed headlines, venues from coast to coast reaped the rewards, thanks to packed houses and expanded offerings that lured in record crowds.

After years of fretting about the lack of new bankable headlining acts, a fresh generation of stars, includin...

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