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142K Fans Who Bought Tickets Stayed Home As UK Concert Attendance Dropped 27% Last Week

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(Hypebot) — A “catastrophic drop” in attendance, advance ticket sales and spend per attendee has hit music venues on the UK and many fear a similar US decline as a new strain of the virus spreads here.

“haemorrhaging money at a rate that will inevitably result in permanent closures”

A survey by the Music Venue trust looked at the last week since the UK Government announced the implementation of new Plan B COVID restrictions.

Key findings:

  • Attendance dropped 23% in one week since Plan B announcement
  • 79.2% of UK grassroots venues saw an increase in no shows (advance ticket buyers who did not attend a show) in the week of 6-13 December. The average no show increase was 23.1%
  • An estimated 142,772 ticket holders failed to attend
  • The decline resulted in a 27% decline in gross income
  • Future income from future ticket sales also declined by 27% “as gig goers’ confidence was shattered by a series of government announcements on the Omicron variant”

Losses across the live venae sector in this first week of this new phase of the Covid crisis hit nearly £2million, with 86% of grassroots music venues reporting negative impacts and 61% having to cancel at least one event in the week of 6-13 December.

The top causes of cancellations were:

  • a performer/member of the touring party testing positive for Covid-19 (35.6%)
  • private hire bookings cancelled by the organizer (31.3% – especially Christmas Parties)
  • poor sales performance (23.6%).

“It feels like we are back exactly where we were in March 2020, when confusing government messaging created a ‘stealth lockdown’ – venues apparently able to open but in reality haemorrhaging money at a rate that will inevitably result in permanent closures unless the government acts quickly to prevent it,” said Mark Davyd, CEO of the Music Venue Trust.

The Music Venue Trust is calling for Nadine Dorries, Secretary of State for Culture to immediately create a stabilization fund to protect the sector. A substantial portion of the £1.7 billion Culture Recovery Fund remains unspent and unallocated.

Bruce Houghton is Founder and Editor of Hypebot and MusicThinkTank and serves as a Senior Advisor to Bandsintown which acquired both publications in 2019. He is the Founder and President of the Skyline Artists Agency and a professor for the Berklee College Of Music.

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