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Music tourism is up, though grassroots venues still facing challenges 

By | Published on Monday 10 July 2017

UK Music

UK Music has published the latest edition of its annual music tourism survey ‘Wish You Were Here’. Top line stats include that attendance at live music events in the UK rose by 12% last year, up to 30.9 million. Direct and indirect spending around those shows and festivals generated £4 billion, up 11% on the equivalent spend in 2015.

But what about those ‘music tourists’? “The total number of music tourists from the UK and abroad increased by 20% in 2016 to 12.5 million”, says UK Music. “11.6 million were UK citizens visiting live music events in other parts of the UK”. In terms of all those bloody foreigners, “the numbers of overseas music visitors to live music events in the UK rose 7% to 823,000 with each spending an average of £850”.

So, that’s good news, isn’t it? And all that means that more people are now being employed by the live music industry too. Though it’s not actually all good news. “The figures also revealed a 13% drop in the level of direct spending at smaller music venues – those with capacity of under 1500 – in 2016 and a 21% fall in the number of overseas visitors to smaller venues”.

So, something to be done there, then. We knew that already though didn’t we? But good to be reminded. Says UK Music CEO Michael Dugher: “Live music in the UK is a tremendous success story and makes a massive contribution to our culture and general wellbeing, as well as our economy”.

“It showcases our talent to the world and brings pleasure to millions every day” he adds. “But this success is being put at risk. That’s why UK Music will continue to campaign to safeguard smaller music venues, many of which are fighting for survival”.