Aussie audiences will return to concerts, but most aren’t ready yet
The good news for Australia’s live music sector is that most fans will return to after the COVID-19 pandemic, but the bad news is that most of them are not quite ready.
These are the findings of The Audience Outlook Monitor, released late yesterday (May 18).
It found that 85% of fans of the arts, music and cultural events will return, with 78% planning to attend as they did in the past, and 7% more often.
On average, only 22% are comfortable attending as soon as restrictions are lifted.
The study revealed that 67% will attend when they deem the risk of transmission to be minimal and 11% won’t be back until there is no risk at all.
Australia Council for the Arts CEO, Adrian Collette, said creativity will be vital to recovery.
“This research provides valuable and promising insights into the future of the cultural and creative sector,” he said, “while highlighting the initial challenges…”
He added that cultural experiences will have people hitting the road for domestic tourism, saying this will play “a critical role in boosting consumer confidence overall”.
The music industry has been lobbying to set the stage (literally), to have the venues ready and waiting when gigs are green-lighted.
The report comes from two funding boosts to music venues in the past few days.
On the weekend, South Australia announced the $1 million Music Development Office Project, offering up to $20,000 for venues and other music businesses, and $5,000 to musicians.
The first round saw $400,000 allocated to Adelaide’s Governor Hindmarsh, which was a few years ago inducted into the SA Hall of Fame or its support of local live music.
Its patrons started a campaign when the Gov’s operators, the Tonkin family, said it would have to close down after September without aid.
A few days earlier Victoria announced that $4 million of its new $32.3 million creative survival package would be for the Music Industry Support Package.
Last week the Greens also proposed a $2.3 billion economic stimulus package for the arts sector, which includes the $1 billion Australia Live fund.
“The arts and entertainment industry will be absolutely vital to our economic recovery,” according to Greens spokesperson for the arts, Sarah Hanson-Young.
“If we are going to restore our social fabric we need to bring people back together through live performance, when it’s safe to do so, and that is going to take funding support.”
The Audience Outlook Monitor is the result of a collaboration by research agencies Patternmakers (Sydney) and WolfBrown (USA) and six government agencies.
These were the Australia Council for the Arts, Creative Victoria, Create NSW, Arts Queensland, Department of Premier and Cabinet (South Australia) and the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (Western Australia).
Over 23,000 respondents from 159 organisations and their audiences contributed, including festivals and performing arts organisations as well as museums and galleries.
Most of the data collected was in May, and between 70% to 75% who responded were females.
The Audience Outlook Monitor said it will collect data again in July and September, to track how audience sentiment shifts as conditions change.