New study finds 90 per cent of festivalgoers would feel confident attending a live event this year

A new study has found that 90 per cent of UK festival-goers would feel confident attending a live music event this year.

It’s hoped that live music will safely return in the UK later this year, with the UK government aiming to lift all coronavirus-enforced restrictions on social contact by June 21 at the earliest.

With festivals such as Reading & Leeds, TRNSMT and All Points East all hoping to take place this year as planned and an array of gigs already announced for autumn and winter 2021, many UK music fans have been able to buy live music tickets with growing confidence.

Festicket have today (April 1) published the results of a study they recently conducted investigating the general feeling among festival-goers about their willingness to attend live events this year during the coronavirus pandemic.

Surveying 140,000 live music fans in the UK, Festicket found that 79 per cent of respondents would feel comfortable attending a live music event this summer (between June and August), while 90 per cent said they would feel confident about attending when events in the final four months of 2021 are also taken into consideration.

82 per cent of the people surveyed said that they were planning to attend two or more festivals or live events this year. More than half of the respondents said that they would be willing to book tickets for both international and domestic events.

Live music - Frank Carter
Reading Festival in 2019 (Picture: Burak Cingi/Redferns)

Only 7.9 per cent of those surveyed said they would only feel comfortable attending an event if they had been vaccinated, though over 58 per cent of festival-goers said they expected extra cleaning and hygiene measures to be in place at any live events they attend this year.

70 per cent of respondents said that they would be more confident about attending a live show or event this year if a cashless, COVID-secure system was implemented on site for bars, food vendors and all other payments.

Zack Sabban, CEO at Festicket and Event Genius, said that “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,” he said.

“Coupling customer opinion with ongoing event partner conversations puts us in a strong position to help the industry bounce back successfully. 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.”

TRNSMT Festival

The study comes after festival organisers previously told NME about the COVID measures and precautions that could be in place this summer, with one revealing that new “elements of health and safety planning are going to be part of events for years to come”.

Dr Michael Head, a Senior Research Fellow in Global Health at the University of Southampton, told NME that while feeling optimistic for the summer, people should “be careful that we’re prepared for any new COVID variants that might impact on the vaccine”, as well as warning of the dangers of long-COVID.

“It is a very real possibility that these variants might emerge and become dominant in the UK and elsewhere to lower the effectiveness of the vaccines that we have,” he told NME. “I think that will probably happen at some point anyway, so we will need revised vaccines that act as a booster in the years to come – but we’d rather that didn’t happen this year and that we could have a bit of time to prepare for that kind of thing.”

He continued: “The threat will still be there. Although a lot of us would have been vaccinated by that point, not all of us will be and the vaccines are not 100 per cent effective. They’re brilliant and are about 80-to-90 per cent effective, but that will still leave a pool of vulnerable people. You can’t eliminate the risks of COVID-19 at these events, but you can reduce them.”

Earlier this week Reading & Leeds boss Melvin Benn said that the twin festivals will “almost certainly” have a COVID-vaccine passport system in place. Festival bosses have also spoken to NME about the likelihood of most events having domestic and local line-ups due to coronavirus.

The huge demand for live music this summer has so far seen Reading & Leeds sell out, while Live Nation’s events sold an astonishing 170,000 tickets in the three days following the announcement of Boris Johnson’s roadmap.

The huge demand for live music this summer has so far seen Reading & Leeds sell out, while Live Nation’s events sold an astonishing 170,000 tickets in the three days following the announcement of Boris Johnson’s roadmap.