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Concertgoing down slightly but remains strong in Oz

The proportion of Australians who saw live music fell slightly, to 54%, in 2016, concurrent with a rise in popularity of theatre, dance, literary and aboriginal events

By Jon Chapple on 29 Jun 2017

Tony Grybowski, CEO, Australia Council

image © Australia Council

Music is still the most popular art form in Australia, new research shows, with 54% of population attending a live music event and 97% listening to recorded music in 2016.

The latest Connecting Australians report by the Australia Council for the Arts reveals more than 14 million Australians aged 15 or over saw a concert last year, with 27% attending a music festival specifically.

The figure compares favourably with similar studies in other developed live music markets – slightly less than the 62% seen in Norway but more than in Denmark, where the number of concertgoers stands at 41% of the population – but is actually a slight decline on previous years’ reports, which reported 58% in 2009 and 59% in 2013. The fall may be attributable to the “substantial increase” in the number of Australians attending theatre or dance events compared to 2013 (42% to 53%), says Australia Council, as well as a rise in attendances for visual arts, craft and literary events.

As elsewhere in the world, young people are most likely to see live entertainment, while Australians of all ages are attending ‘First Nations’ (aboriginal) events in greater numbers.

Ninety-eight per cent of Australians “engage with the arts” – which include music, visual arts, theatre, dance and literature – in some way, the report concludes.

“New and additional arts experiences are expanding on rather than replacing live attendance, which remains strong”

“It is overwhelmingly apparent from the data that while 98% of Australians engage in the arts, they do so more frequently and with much greater breadth than they realise,” comments Australia Council chief executive Tony Grybowski (pictured). “We need to demystify what we mean by ‘the arts’. Many Australians have a narrow view of what the arts include, often dismissing the things we enjoy most frequently, such as listening to music, reading or going to a festival. As a result, they are underestimating the vital role the arts play in the quality of their everyday experience. Gaining this clarity is important so that when talking about the value of supporting the arts we all understand what is at stake.

“As the third survey in the series, the research identifies important trends. Engagement with First Nations arts has doubled since 2009, reaching seven million Australians last year. Creating, accessing and sharing the arts online is booming – new and additional arts experiences are expanding on rather than replacing live attendance, which remains strong.

“The report also reveals the importance of the arts in the lives of younger Australians. They create and experience the arts at the highest rates, especially online; they love festivals and over half engage with the arts as part of their cultural background. This gives the arts a unique role in shaping the future of our national culture.”


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