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Cultural recovery: audience insight

Michelle Pavey

Article by Michelle Pavey

This month, we conducted a survey to find out how audiences across the country felt about going back to live events. We surveyed 216 people aged 18 – 80 and asked them how they behaved prior to the pandemic and how they will approach going back to events as lockdown restrictions ease over the summer.

Despite it showing that respondents are still cautious about measures easing and are unsure about what normal life’ looks like post-June 21st, it became clear that survey-takers are keen to get back to live events when it is safe to do so.

Here are the headline results of the survey.

Bring back live events!

98% of people want to get back to live events. Although preferences have changed among post-pandemic-would-be-event-goers, the desire to get back to live venues is an overwhelming YES.

1 Bring back live events

Large music tours take the biggest hit

Although there’s a strong desire to get back to live events, fewer people are willing to attend large music tours, whereas the appetite for smaller music gigs remains largely unchanged.

2 Large music tours

More openness to online events

27% of people would now say they’d be willing to attend online events, who wouldn’t have considered it pre-lockdown.

40% of people say they’d still be up for online events alongside in-person/live events.

3 More openness to online events

Hardcore revellers want their live events back

Although many who would have attended live events monthly or 3 – 4 times a year would now only consider 1 – 2 times a year, the majority of those who said they attended weekly live shows want to continue at this frequency post-lockdown (only a 17% decline).

4 Frequency

Digital ticketing FTW

With online sales and digital tickets already the preferred method of buying/​receiving tickets, people’s willingness to deal with face-to-face sales and physical tickets has declined significantly following the pandemic.

  • Willingness to collect in person -57%.
  • Willingness to use box office -34%.
5 Digital tickets

Information is key

Post-pandemic event-goers will be looking for information about your events across a wider range of touch-points. With your website being the most important platform, customers will be more likely to expect key information on the ticket, via email and on social media.

Don’t underestimate over-communicating

Where previously, most people would’ve checked for event updates a few times leading up to the event itself, attendees will be checking-in more frequently, even daily, in the run-up to the event.

6 Over communicating

The need to know

Audiences rated show times, venue and seating information as the most useful things to know ahead of attending, this remains the same in 2021. Predictably health and safety advice has gone from 7th to 4th with a 50% increase in importance to ticket holders. Proving there is a real demand to know how the venue will operate and the safety measures in place.

7 The need to know

Safety is a paramount

Event-goers were not overly concerned about all attendees being vaccinated before returning with only a third of respondents stating this as critical to them. By contrast, 77% answered that safety measures must be followed by the venue and that virus cases have to be extremely low. Additionally half of the survey-takers want adequate staffing and reduced capacity to begin attending events again.

8 Safety is paramount

Technology providing access

The majority of people responded positively to the adoption of existing or new technologies in order to access events. Around 80% of attendees would accept only using digital tickets and card payments when attending. With three-quarters of people also stating they would agree to rapid testing and track and trace. But 38% of people would not accept having to have a vaccine passport to attend.

9 Tech providing access

Overall the survey highlights that safety is of utmost importance to attendees, they want it to be clear how the event will run and what measures are in place. In an uncertain world, ticket-holders need to feel trust and confidence in the venues to run the shows safely and keep them updated.

Most people are willing to move to digital-only for bookings and payments at the venue and are positive about adopting new technologies to access events. This overall positivity could be a result of the vaccine rollout in the UK, the gradual easing of restrictions set out in the UK roadmap in February and the strong desire for a more normal life after a year in various levels of lockdown.

If you would like to see the full results, please find the report here.

Further reading

If you want to see more data there are a number of insightful and detailed reports which focus on specific areas of the sector which have been running since summer 2020.

Michelle Pavey

Michelle Pavey is Strategy Director at Kind