July 2021

Key Findings

  • There is still a lot of hesitation about attending in person Classic Music performances, especially among non-core audiences and typically high-engagers alike.
  • Some progress is being made in terms of booking and planning ahead, but this is still very limited.
  • A small core of audiences (1/4) say that they strongly miss attending performing arts.
  • Vaccination is an important factor for willingness to return, but doesn’t appear to have moved the dial very far, yet.

Willingness to Attend

Back in February, these were the proportions who were willing to attend (based on question: ‘Once lockdown is over and there was something you wanted to go to, which of these best summarises how you feel’ [or words to that effect]).

Williness to attend in June.png Williness to attend in June 2.png

In summary – just over ¼ happy to; just under 1/3 would consider with reservations, just under 1/5 very unlikely. We’d expect, given all that’s changed since Feb (route map, vaccinations etc) that this would have changed substantially…

…but it hasn’t: only 2% increase in the ‘happy to attend’ category.

The proportions *are* higher for those who attended the arts in the 12 months before COVID (a bit)…

  • NB: ‘Previously Attended’ = said had attended a performing arts event in the 12 months before COVID

…and higher in London than elsewhere.

Williness to attend by area.png

Younger groups are also more likely to be ‘happy to attend’ (despite not being vaccinated yet).

Willingness to attend by age.png

Disability makes remarkably little difference (perhaps offset by higher vaccination rates?)

Willigness to attend by ability.png Willingess to attend by children.png

Those with dependent children (esp. pre-schoolers) are most likely to be ‘happy to attend’, perhaps because of the desire to go to events for the children, or a sense that they are already somewhat at risk from infection via children in any case.

  • % Happy to attend by age of dependent children (dashed line = no children (26%)

Men are more willing to take risks than women.

Willingness to attend by gender.png Willingness to attend by vaccination.png

But there is little difference between those who’d been jabbed once and not at all (but those who’d been double-jabbed were much more reluctant – reflecting their older age group).

In Summary

Still only 29% are ‘happy to attend’ if there was something they wanted to see (but a further 30% ‘would consider with reservations’). This is barely above the levels in February (27%, 31%).

Those who are more likely to be ‘happy to attend’ are:

  • Younger (40% of 25-34s)
  • With dependant children (38%), esp. U5s (42%)
  • In London (37%)
  • Haven’t had two jabs (37% one jab, 36% no jab)
  • Previous Performing Arts Attenders (32%)
  • Male (31%)
  • Don’t have a disability (30%)


Vaccination by age 1.png

This shows the distribution of vaccination by age (those who’d been to live arts events in the 12 months before COVID are less likely to be completely unvaccinated).

Vaccination by age 2.png Vaccination by age 3.png Vaccinations by age 4.png

…and there’s been a huge shift since Wave 2 (despite that lack of impact on willingness to attend).

Vaccination by Audience Spectrum.png

Note in particular the high proportions of CC, DD and H&H who’d been vaccinated. Worth noting too, the key groups for Classical Music, within and outside London.

Ldn: Mcl + CC = 61%

Non-Ldn: CC + DD = 47%

NB – small bases: 71-284; margin of error: 6-12%

Vaccination Summary

  • Vaccination levels much higher than they were in Feb
  • Esp. for performing arts audiences
  • Esp. for the Audience Spectrum groups that attend classical music most (outside London in particular)
  • But NOT linked to higher willingness to attend


Attitudes 1.png

Lots of previous live event attenders have missed it (1 in 4 ‘Strongly agree’), but still relatively few have booked ahead: numbers are up on Feb, but still 2/3 *haven’t* booked or planned a visit to live performance in the next two months.

Attitudes 4.png Attitudes 2.png

  1. [Previous live arts / music bookers]: In the next two months, have you booked or planned to go to a live performance (inc. music or theatre)?

Cf. 5%, 11%, 80%, 5% in Feb

Attitudes 3.png

Attitudes are moving in a positive direction for opening up, but slowly – and vaccination remains important.

The core group who are missing attendance strongly are likely to be enough to take up limited capacity in the short term: the key question in how demand grows as more events at higher capacities become available…

Note on infrequent classical audiences:

Analysis of 2014-16 Audience Finder data for classical music showed that the majority (67%) of bookers only booked once for classical music concerts (=30% of the overall income)

Attitudes Summary

  • Still a lot of concern about health impacts of COVID
  • Vaccination seen as important – even though doesn’t drive attitudes re attendance
  • Even among previous attenders, it’s only a core group who are strongly missing attendance: more potential for the core to return than wider audiences.