According to UK Music’s latest ‘Wish You Were Here’ report, audiences attending live music events in the UK rose by 12% in 2016 to 30.9 million, generating £4bn for the economy.
The report is published annually, with data crunched by Oxford Economics based on information from hundreds of venues and festivals. Out of that 30.9m, 27m attended concerts, with a total festival attendance of 3.9m
Since 2011, the live music industry in the UK has seen a 76% rise in so-called ‘music tourists’ travelling to enjoy music events in the UK. Last year, the number of overseas music visitors to live music events in the UK rose 7% to 823,000 with each spending an average of £850.
Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said that the report “Clearly shows music and the creative industries are not only central to our cultural DNA but also hugely important for creating jobs and growth across the country”.
Bradley continued: “It’s fantastic to see a record number of visitors to live events in the UK and the huge popularity of our artists overseas. Our musicians are cultural ambassadors for Britain and help us show the world that we are an optimistic and open country”.
47,445 full time jobs in 2016 were sustained by music tourism in the UK, a 22% increase on the 2015 figure of 39,034.
The figures also revealed a 13% drop in the level of direct spending at smaller music venues with capacities of under 1,500 in 2016 and a 21% fall in the number of overseas visitors to smaller venues. This has resulted in a narrative in some quarters of the media of the major festivals and venues doing just fine while the grassroots remain threatened. The Gen must question this- the report also reveals that audiences in small venues increased by over 10% from 5.6m to 6.2m year on year. Also, didn’t the ‘Rescue plan’ for London’s Grassroots Music Venues reveal at the beginning of this year that grassroots venues in the Capital were actually stable for the first time in ten years? Of course, this isn’t all about London but you would consider it to be a good indicator of the general health of grassroots venues across the UK.
Also, lets face it- music tourists are more likely to travel for shows by established artists playing in larger venues.
Of course, the grassroots need to be protected and preserved but to even compare concerts and festivals is unhelpful as they have drastically different business models.
Find out more and read the complete report here.
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