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UK report: Double vaccination rate higher in concertgoers

The double vaccination rate among UK concertgoers is substantially higher than in the country’s general population, according to a new report by Music Venue Trust (MVT).

More than three-quarters (76.3%) of people attending live music events in the UK were fully vaccinated, while just 61.3% of the general population received two jabs, it found at the time of data collection.

Furthermore, almost all UK concertgoers (91.6%) will have been fully vaccinated by the end of September if they complete their vaccination programme – again, substantially higher than predicted for the general population (77.9%).

According to the report, these statistics aren’t a coincidence; 91.3% of attendees had chosen to take an additional personal precaution such as double vaccination, testing or immunity to support their safety.

Despite a high vaccination rate among concertgoers, only 2.1% of live music fans wanted to see certified double vaccination as the sole mandatory condition of entry and 8.9% wanted to see mandatory certification of health status as a condition of entry to grassroots music venues.

Only 2.1% of live music fans wanted to see certified double vaccination as the sole mandatory condition of entry

A mix of mandatory certification options, displaying vaccination, testing or immunity, was more strongly supported by live music fans.

The findings are from a series of surveys and data collection exercises conducted by MVT during the first month of the full capacity reopening of grassroots music venues in the UK.

The audience survey recorded answers from 1,891 people who normally attended live music events prior to the Covid crisis.

While 221 grassroots music venues took part in a survey about the precautions they had taken around opening and the attendance at their events.

And 100 grassroots music venues were selected as representative of the sector, with case rates and transmission rates in their locality mapped to explore if the full capacity reopening of grassroots music venues had a discernible impact on local case rates.

In the local areas around a representative sample of 100 grassroots music venues, Covid-19 case rates declined by 39%

Notably, in the local areas around a representative sample of 100 grassroots music venues, Covid-19 case rates declined by 39%.

“The response from venues, artists and audiences to the Covid threat has been incredible,” says Mark Davyd, CEO of Music Venue Trust.

“These survey results clearly demonstrate a will by the live music community to create safe spaces, to take personal responsibility for ourselves and each other, and to act to Reopen Every Venue Safely. It is particularly striking that local case and transmission rates around grassroots music venues, far from exponentially increasing as was predicted, have, in reality, exceeded the decline in rates witnessed nationally.”

Other findings from MVT’s report include:

 


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Disabled fans eager to return to live events

A new ‘audience snapshot’ by music and event industry charity Attitude is Everything indicates that a majority of Deaf, disabled and neurodivergent people want to return to live events – as long as accessible safety precautions are in place.

The poll of 289 individuals with a history of attending live events found that respondents went to more than 5,000 indoor and more than 1,200 outdoor live events in 2019 – from gigs and festivals to football matches and book launches.

Following the UK’s relaxation of restrictions on 19 July, 50% of respondents say they would feel comfortable attending an indoor live event and 73% said they would feel comfortable attending an outdoor live event, as long as they are confident that as many accessible measures as possible have been put in place to increase safety.

Almost three-quarters (74%) have additional access requirements in order to attend live events, such as companion tickets, accessible seating, step-free access and accessible toilets.

The results underscore the need for event organisers to ensure that access and Covid-safety measures are at the forefront of reopening plans.

Just over two-thirds (67%) of respondents considered themselves to be at heightened risk if they were to contract Covid-19, with 46% having shielded in 2020, and 27% feeling it necessary to return to shielding now rules have been lifted.

“More than ever before, it’s time to recognise that the disabled community are part of the life-blood of culture in the UK”

Furthermore, 42% didn’t see how a live venue could be a safe environment for them at the time they completed the survey (19 July– 1 August), with 24% feeling that they won’t be able to get to an indoor live event until next year at the earliest.

Eighty-three per cent said they would attend a venue or event that requires the NHS Covid Pass to gain entry, with 67% stating they would actively choose a venue that requires an NHS Covid Pass to gain entry over one that doesn’t.

Almost all (96%) of all respondents said it is important that venues and events engage with disabled people who don’t feel safe to return just yet, with 78% thinking venues and events should maintain online streaming as an option.

“In 2019, disabled people were big consumers of live events. In fact, in the years before the pandemic, the economic spend from disabled people attending live music grew from £3.4 million in 2013 to £9.3 million in 2019, so there was always going to be a huge demand from the disabled community to return to live events,” says Suzanne Bull MBE, founder of Attitude is Everything.

“Understandably, disabled people have real and deep-seated fears about how safe live events will be after the pandemic. I urge the live events sector to address concerns and make demonstratable efforts to welcome those with access requirements back to their venues and events, and for artists to become actively involved in this welcome.

“Over the past 18 months, disabled people have been loyal in donating to venues and campaigns to support musicians, and bought music, art and books to help creatives to sustain themselves. So more than ever before, it’s time to recognise that the disabled community are part of the life-blood of culture in the UK.”

Following the survey, Attitude is Everything calls on event organisers to check their post-19 July Covid-safety information and practices against its list of reopening measures supported by respondents.

 


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23,000+ events cancelled in Australia in July

The findings from a survey quantifying the immediate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Australia’s live event and entertainment industries has painted an “alarming picture” for the near future of the sector.

The second survey from I Lost My Gig, an initiative of the Australian Festivals Association (AFA) and the Australian Music Industry Network (AMIN), drew responses from almost 2,000 professionals from the Australian live music industry.

The data capture showed that during July, at least 23,000 gigs and events were cancelled, equating to nearly AUS$64 million in lost income – $16m per week.

The survey’s respondents included artists, managers, production crew, technical workers, venue operators and workers, festival operators, booking and ticketing agencies, marketing and promotions companies, music press outlets and a broad range of other related businesses and sole traders.

“Border closures, capacity restrictions, and quarantine issues continue to devastate live performances and events across the country, wreaking havoc on touring schedules, and creating what respondents describe as a never-ending cycle of unpaid show rescheduling,” reads the accompanying report.

Of the $64m in lost revenue, the results showed that 99% of respondents had no income protection or event cancellation insurance – something that the Australian live industry has been repeatedly calling for.

“Respondents describe a never-ending cycle of unpaid show rescheduling”

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, just 7% of professionals working in the live performance and events industries have been able to operate at pre-Covid levels. Thus, 60% of respondents say they’ve recently looked for work in other industries.

More than 67% claimed they were ineligible for the federal government’s Disaster Relief Payment, and over 50% said they were unclear about the funding being offered by their state/territory governments.

A significant number of respondents expressed frustration at what they perceived as government prioritisation of sporting events in lieu of meaningful support of the creative industries. Poor mental health and wellbeing, ongoing financial distress and a lack of hope were also common themes among responses.

The survey comes after three of the six Australian states – South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales – were put into lockdown during July to face separate outbreaks of Covid.

The country has been slower than most others to immunise its population and it may not see the lifting of restrictions – and the full return of the live music industry – until mid-November, according to the government’s roadmap.

 


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Australian fans clamour for return of int’l artists

More than four fifths of Australians say they consider international artists to be a significant factor in their decision to attend live events in future, according to a major new survey commissioned by Live Entertainment Industry Forum (LEIF).

LEIF, a pan-industry body whose members include Live Nation, TEG, AEG Presents, Frontier Touring, Chugg Entertainment and WME, commissioned Ersnt & Young (EY) to survey 35,000 Australian consumers to identify their attitudes towards live shows and expectations for a safe return to live performances.

Among EY’s findings are that over 80% of those surveyed considered overseas artists a “significant” or “very significant” factor in whether they would attend a concert, and that fans want live events with larger crowd numbers to return this year, with more than 80% also keen to see live events return with greater crowd numbers by November 2021.

Geoff Jones, CEO of TEG and co-chair of LEIF, saysthe results underline the need for the Australian federal and state governments to align with leading promoters to ensure vaccinated international acts and their crews can enter the country and move around easily in Covid-safe travel bubbles for shows and festivals throughout the coming summer.

“We already know that international superstars love to tour Australia and that we offer them the best fans, the best weather and the best food in the world,” comments Jones. “We also know that shows by international artists generate 80% of concert ticket sales by value. They also generate the greatest economic benefit for our country through tourism, travel, hospitality and other industries, and to our own industry, which has been ravaged by the pandemic.

“EY’s findings show that Aussie fans are hungry for the world’s biggest performers to return to our shores and tour our beautiful country.”

“Aussie fans are hungry for the world’s biggest performers to return to our shores and tour our beautiful country”

Roger Field, president of Live Nation Asia Pacific and co-chair of LEIF, agrees: “Other international markets are beginning to reopen and offer alternative touring options for artists, so it is absolutely critical that we reach rapid alignment with the federal and state and territory governments at national cabinet level to ensure Australia does not miss out on this vital opportunity for the live entertainment industry to recover from the worst year in its long and storied history.”

Amid fresh lockdown measures to quash the current outbreaks of Covid-19, EY’s survey also spotlights the positive impact that live entertainment has on the nation’s mental health, showing that three-quarters of Australians saying they consider live events an important part of their work, social and family life.

Julia Robinson, general manager of the Australian Festivals Association, says: “EY’s study shows how vital live experiences are to social cohesion and wellbeing. Events bring us together. They can inspire and move us. Live entertainment is the antidote to last year’s disconnection, and we know audiences around Australia continue to miss their festivals, concerts and events.”

Live Performance Australia CEO Evelyn Richardson says the best call to action for fans to help the live entertainment industry is to go and get vaccinated: “If we want keep our theatre and venue doors open, and we want to see our favourite performers on stage, the most important thing we can do right now is to get vaccinated. Not only will it keep our communities, families, friends and colleagues safe, it will ensure the future of our industry. Don’t wait. Do it now so we can welcome the world’s greatest acts back to the country that they love visiting and performing in.”

LEIF’s executive committee includes the heads of TEG, Live Nation, Chugg Entertainment, AEG Presents, Frontier Touring, WME, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Sydney Cricket Ground, Marvel Stadium, Melbourne Olympic Parks, Adelaide Oval, Venues West, Venues Live, ASM Global, Michael Cassel Group, Stadiums Queensland, Live Performance Australia, Australian Festivals Association, and Venue Management Association.

 


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Livestreamed shows here to stay, finds academic study

New research into livestreamed concerts, funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council, has found artists are overwhelmingly positive about the power of reaching new audiences through virtual shows, even post-pandemic.

The research, led by Middlesex University and King’s College London, also offers insight into fan experiences of and expectations for livestreamed events and detailed advice on the technical and legal aspects of livestreaming.

The findings of the research project, which surveyed nearly 1,500 musicians and fans in the UK, include:

For their research, investigators also interviewed four concert promoters and an industry charity, and invited 200 music venues to send out the survey. Project partners included the Musicians’ Union, the Incorporated Society of Musicians, Music Venue Trust and promoter Serious.

The findings, however, conflict with a recent survey by trade body LIVE which found just 25% of fans will continue to engage with live streams after the pandemic period.

Over two thirds of those surveyed agreed livestreaming will remain an important part of the landscape after the pandemic

The project’s principal investigator, Middlesex University senior lecturer in music business and arts management Julia Haferkorn, says: “There were numerous comments from attenders unable to visit physical venues, even in non-pandemic times, expressing their appreciation of the availability of livestreamed concerts. Attenders also expressed an appreciation for being able to watch concerts by artists from other countries.”

“The most interesting insight from our research is the important role that livestreaming plays in giving music fans who suffer from social anxiety or other health-related issues access to live music performance,” adds study co-author Brian Kavanagh, lecturer in digital innovation at King’s College London.

Another co-author, pianist and Middlesex University lecturer in popular music Sam Leak, comments: “Our research has highlighted how important it is for audience members to be able to communicate with, and feel connected to, each other and the musicians performing. As a performer, this finding is interesting to me not only because it impacts my livestreaming practice, but also because it could well enhance the experience of my audiences in physical venues.”

The full report, which was published this morning (12 May), is available from www.livestreamingmusic.uk.

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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LIVE survey: UK fans eager to return to shows ASAP

UK trade body LIVE (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment) has conducted a survey of 25,000 music fans, the results of which reveal an overwhelming desire for live music to return as quickly as possible.

More than half of fans are ready to attend music events right now if they could with a further 25% willing to come back with safety measures in place, according to the results of the survey.

The findings also show that the majority of fans (85%) are planning on attending either the same or higher numbers of live music events when they reopen than before the pandemic and more than half of fans (55%) have already bought tickets for live music events in the coming months.

Among those who are yet to buy their tickets, one-third are waiting for more gigs to come on sale rather than being deterred by the pandemic.

The top three reasons fans want to return to gigs are seeing an artist that they love (91%), the joy that live music brings (89%) and spending time with friends (69%). The majority of respondents (64%) stated that attending live music events boosts their mental health.

In further encouraging news, music fans are largely accepting of proposed Covid-prevention measures with 75% of respondents confirming they would be happy with the idea of Covid certification to attend an event.

“It’s great that the passion of live music fans has endured and after a long wait fans want to go to more shows than ever”

Hand sanitiser stations, temperature checking and one-way systems are the simple mitigations fans would like to see when events return, though 41% of respondents said they would be put off attending an event if they had to wear a face mask.

The survey is the most detailed research yet conducted on the attitudes of UK music fans towards the return of live events and how they want them to be run in a post-pandemic world.

“It’s great that the passion of live music fans has endured the pandemic, and after a long wait fans want to go to more shows than ever,” says Chris Carey, chief economist of LIVE. It is especially encouraging to see how quickly fans want to get back to live.”

Greg Parmley, CEO of LIVE, says: “After a devastating year for the live music industry it is fantastic to see the strength of feeling from fans across the UK who are desperate to get back to live music events. The industry has worked tirelessly to ensure that we can return as quickly and safely as possible.

“It is notable that fans are willing to live with short-term mitigation measures in order to get back to live music as quickly as possible, with three quarters saying that they would be happy with a Covid-certification system as part of those measures.”

 


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90% of UK fans feel confident attending a show in 2021

A new survey of 140,000 British festivalgoers has found that nine out of ten would be confident attending at least one live event this year.

The survey, carried out by Festicket, discovered that 79% of respondents would feel comfortable attending an event this summer (defined as June to August), with that number rising to 90% when including events in the final four months of the year.

Additionally, 82% of fans said they are planning to attend two or more festivals or live events this year, reflecting the huge demand for tickets since prime minister Boris Johnson’s reopening ‘roadmap’ was unveiled in February.

More than half of respondents said they would also be happy to book tickets for overseas events, while just 8% reported they would only feel comfortable attending an event if they had been vaccinated against Covid-19.

Elsewhere, the biggest demand for changes on site is for extra cleaning and hygiene measures, with 58.5% deeming this essential, followed closely by a desire for to be able to pay and enter the festival contactlessly.

“It’s clear there has been a shift in perspective in the UK over the past month”

Over 52% said contactless ticketing, contactless access control at the door and reduced queues would be key in their decision to attend, while 70% of people said they would be more encouraged to attend a festival/event if it were to implement a Covid-secure cashless system on site for bars, food vendors and other payments.

Zack Sabban, CEO of Festicket, whose Event Genius platform has invested heavily in Covid-compliant cashless and contactless entry systems, says: “It’s clear there has been a shift in perspective in the UK over the past month. Following the prime minister’s announcement in February, stories of 2021 events selling out have become common, but we wanted to dig a little deeper.”

Among the UK festivals to have recently sold out their 2021 editions are Reading Festival, Boomtown, Creamfields, Wireless, Parklife and Kendal Calling.

“Coupling customer opinion with ongoing event partner conversations puts us in a strong position to help the industry bounce back successfully,” continues Sabban. “It’s important that the industry works within all government guidance available, but, more specifically, listening to your fans is essential and delivering events in the way they now demand is critical for success.”

 


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French festivalgoers unwilling to attend seated festivals

The majority of French festivalgoers would not be willing to attend Eurockéennes de Belfort 2021 if they were required to be seated for the duration, according to a survey conducted by the festival.

The survey aimed to find whether festivalgoers would be willing to attend this summer’s edition with the restrictions recently announced by the government.

The restrictions, announced at the end of last month, require both indoor and outdoor festivals to limit attendance to 5,000 people, who must be seated and socially distanced.

The survey attracted 21,418 respondents, 72% of which said they would not be willing to attend a seated version of Eurockéennes this year.

One per cent of respondents did not answer the questions but 27% of respondents (around 6,000 people) said they would be willing to attend, which is more than the capacity limit.

Almost half of the respondents (48%) said they would not be willing to attend this year’s festival if social distancing was imposed and 73% would not attend if refreshments were not available.

Almost half of the respondents said they would not be willing to attend this year’s festival if social distancing was imposed

However, the majority of festivalgoers would agree to wear a mask (72%) and present results of a Covid-19 screening test for access to the festival (69%).

Eurockéennes, which was cancelled in 2020, is due to take place from 1 to 4 July this year, featuring acts including Massive Attack, the Lumineers, Foals, Simple Minds and Diplo. The 2019 edition was attended by 130,000 people.

Though the minister for culture, Roselyne Bachelot, announced a €30 million compensation fund for organisers alongside the restrictions, the French live industry has criticised the framework.

France’s trade union, the SMA (Syndicat des Musiques Actuelles), said “a seated event bringing together 5,000 maximum people, perhaps without access to the bar or the restaurant, cannot be called a festival”.

AEG Presents France GM and VP, Arnaud Meerseeman, said the “loose framework” and the issues it presents “points to another empty season”.

French metal festival Hellfest Open Air (cap. 60,000) was the first major French festival to cancel, saying that “to accept these overly restrictive rules would go against the very DNA of the festival”.

 


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Majority of fans ready to return to gigs soon

A pair of surveys conducted by ticketing platform Gigantic and events agency Identity have found that the majority of music fans are ready to return to live gigs in one way or another.

Gigantic found that of the 8,000 people who responded to its consumer survey, 65% will be ready to return to live gigs within two months of venues reopening and 35% straight away.

Fourteen per cent say they’d return within a month and a further 16% will take four to eight weeks to return to gigs. The remaining number would wait between three to six months before returning. Only two respondents said they would not return to a live event again.

Though the majority of respondents say they’re eager to return to gigs, similar enthusiasm was shown for hygiene measures to be put in place. Over 80% of people say they would want to see hand sanitising points throughout the venue, 68% would like to see reduced capacities, and 39% would like to see masks mandatory for those attending. Half of those surveyed would like to see social distancing relaxed inside venues as long as relevant steps are in place to protect them.

The survey also found that 41% of our gig-goers would be happy to watch exclusive live-streamed events in the absence of live music.

However, Identity’s industry survey found that an overwhelming majority, (84%) disagreed with the statement “I will only attend virtual events from now on” and a similar number agreed that all events in the future should have both a virtual and live offering.

“People miss meeting up and no amount of creativity can replace that”

The survey, which was conducted in the last week of July and spanned respondents from several industry sectors with 25% from entertainment and leisure, found almost 80% of those surveyed are keen to attend live events in person within the next 12 months.

However, nearly half (47%) said these events would be within their own country of residence only. Just a third of respondents said they would willingly travel internationally to attend a live event within the next 12 months.

When asked to consider what measures they expect to be operational should live events return, almost three quarters said they would expect social distancing measures to be in place, while two-thirds of respondents consider wearing face coverings at live events a necessity, but only 10% consider it a necessity to hold live events outdoors. Four-fifths of respondents expect live events to have a cap on the number of attendees.

Charlie Hepburn, client strategy director of Identity Group says: “This points to the ultimate importance being placed on advance communication, keeping attendees well informed and ensuring they are aware of the expectations and restrictions in place before committing to attend the event. Interestingly, the idea of hosting events indoors, as opposed to outdoors, does not seem to provoke any reluctance to attend.”

Looking to the future of live events, the survey found that 80% of people feel live streaming cannot replace the real thing but almost the same amount of respondents (79%) said that brands need to offer both live and virtual attendance options for all events.

Almost 80% said they would expect to pay less to attend a virtual delivery of a live event and only 8% said they “expect to pay the same to attend the virtual delivery of a live event”.

“It appears that people really do miss live events,” says Hepburn. “The reality is people miss meeting up and no amount of creativity can replace that.”

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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TM Germany: 98% of fans ready to go back to shows

An overwhelming majority of German music fans want to attend live events again, despite the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, according to new research by Ticketmaster Germany.

Of some 80,000 people surveyed, 98% of Ticketmaster customers said they still want to go to shows, with 65% of those surveyed saying they miss live events “particularly badly”.

While 94% of people expect ticket prices to rise post-pandemic, live events are the activity respondents are most looking forward to returning to, with 82% saying live entertainment is their top priority, ahead of travelling (78%) and eating out (67%).

The survey also suggests that fans will continue to pay for live streams and other virtual concerts when venues have reopened, tallying with previous research by Bandsintown. According to Ticketmaster, fans “enjoy the convenience of streams they can enjoy from the comfort of their own home”, with two thirds saying they have paid, or would pay in future, for exclusive online content from artists.

Live events are the activity respondents are most looking forward to returning to

Industry groups have criticised Germany’s scattershot approach to ending lockdown restrictions on live music, with umbrella body BDKV saying earlier this week that the country’s federal structure – with different sets of regulations in all 16 states – makes touring “impossible” at present.

“Even if there were a promoter who would be willing to organise a tour at a loss, or financed by public subsidies, the 16 different, contradictory and contradicting regional directives do not allow for the consistent organisation of touring events,” says BDKV president Jens Michow.

In addition to Germany, demand for live music remains strong in the UK, the Netherlands and Italy, according to recent surveys in those markets.

 


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