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Following two years of pandemic-induced cancellations, Mintel forecasts UK sales of music festivals and concerts will bounce back during 2022 and that the value of the market will surpass its pre-COVID level in 2023. Sales are set to reach nearly £2.79 billion next year, up from £2.77 billion in 2019.

By 2026, Mintel estimates the market will reach a record high of more than £3.22 billion as the industry continues to cash in on pent-up consumer demand for live experiences that were off-limits during 2020 and 2021.

Despite 2021 being far from a normal year in the music festival calendar, overall participation in attending festivals recovered to around 80% of its pre-pandemic level as just over a fifth (21%) of UK consumers attended a music festival in the year to March 2022, compared to 26% in the 12 months to May 2019. Nearly half (49%) of 16-24s attended a music festival in the 12 months to March 2022, meaning overall participation among this age group has recovered to its pre-pandemic level (49%).

While livestreaming was a vital way for artists and promoters to engage with music fans throughout the pandemic and will continue to attract budget-conscious music lovers, in the last 12 months* music fans were around three times as likely to pay to attend a music concert or festival in person (30%) than to pay to stream one online (11%). Now, with restrictions fully lifted, 35% of consumers say they plan to pay to attend in person over the coming year** compared to 9% who plan to pay to stream online.

Although 29% of those who plan to pay to livestream a music concert or festival over the next year say this is because it is safer than attending one in person, the majority are motivated by reasons unrelated to COVID-19, such as the fact they can get a clearer view (31%), it’s more convenient (30%) or because it’s cheaper (27%).

Paul Davies, Mintel Reports UK Category Director, Leisure, Travel and Foodservice, said:

“After a tough end to 2021, attendance at the UK’s major festivals is set to be as high as ever as fans look to return to the music scene; this year will be particularly poignant as festival goers will finally get to celebrate Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary after cancellations in 2020 and, again, in 2021.

“The live music industry is well-positioned to navigate the cost of living crisis. Whilst rising costs do pose a threat to the sector, demand for most major music events tends to outstrip supply and this should offer some form of protection. For many, live music is a popular form of escapism which has allowed the sector to remain resilient during previous periods of economic uncertainty. Having been deprived of attending events as a result of the pandemic, there is significant pent-up consumer demand for live music and this will lead many people to prioritise spending money on tickets.

“The industry should also benefit from the fact that its core audience is made up of young consumers, many of whom are not responsible for paying household bills and are, therefore, less exposed to current financial pressures. Meanwhile, the livestreaming of events can help the sector to reach those who can’t justify the cost of attending in-person, whilst also generating additional revenue.”

*In the 12 months to March 2022
**In the next 12 months from March 2022