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Cultural recovery: audience insights

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.
Michelle Pavey

Strategy Director

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.

Illustration: 98% of people want to see live events come back

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.

Illustration: Post-lockdown people are less willing attend in-person events overall

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.

Illustration: Post-lockdown 40% of people are happy to continue streaming events online

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).

Illustration: Post-lockdown people feel they will attend in-person events less frequently

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%.

Illustration: Post-lockdown event attendees are less willing to use physical box-offices


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.

Illustration: Post-lockdown event attendees check daily for event updates prior to attending

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.

Illustration: Post-lockdown attendees are much more interested in health and safety information

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.

Illustration: Post-lockdown 77% of attendees expect venues to have social distancing measure in place

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.

Illustration: Post-lockdown 62% of attendees were open to using a vaccine passport to attend an event

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.

Related topics:

  • Arts & Culture