More than 30 million people attended live music events in 2017, a 12 per cent increase compared to 2016 and 3.9 million people attended festivals. The figures, released by UK Music in its Wish You Were Here 2017 report, highlight the huge contribution of live music and music tourism to the UK economy.
Live music fans generated £4 billion in direct and indirect spending in 2016 by flocking to concerts and festivals across the UK – a rise of 11 per cent on the £3.7 billion they spent in 2015.
The total number of music tourists from the UK and abroad increased by 20 per cent in 2016 to 12.5 million, of which 11.6 million were UK citizens visiting live music events in other parts of the UK.
Collating a vast amount of ticketing and other data from hundreds of venues, UK Music annually compiles this insight into live music in every region of the UK and its impact on the local economy.
Since 2011, the live music industry in the UK has seen a 76 per cent rise in music tourists travelling to enjoy music events in the UK.
In 2016, the numbers of overseas music visitors to live music events in the UK rose seven per cent to 823,000 with each spending an average of £850.
The increase in music tourism in 2016 provided a huge boost to employment throughout the country, with 47,445 full time jobs in 2016 sustained by music tourism in the UK – a 22 per cent increase on the 2015 figure of 39,034.
However, the figures also revealed a 13 per cent drop in the level of direct spending at smaller music venues – those with capacity of less than 1,500 – in 2016 and a 21 per cent fall in the number of overseas visitors to smaller venues.
According to the report, 27 million attended concerts in the UK and 18.4 million local residents attended local music events in the UK.
Among the festivals that contributed to that success story in 2016 were Glastonbury, Latitude, Green Man in Wales’ Brecon Beacons and Lovebox in London.
Live music fans packed out venues ranging from The Leadmill in Sheffield, Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh and the Lexington in London to large arenas like Glasgow’s SSE Hydro and the O2 Arena in London.
Culture Secretary, Karen Bradley, said: “UK Music’s Wish You Were Here report clearly shows music and the creative industries are not only central to our cultural DNA but also hugely important for creating jobs and growth across the country.
“It’s fantastic to see a record number of visitors to live events in the UK and the huge popularity of our artists overseas. Our musicians are cultural ambassadors for Britain and help us show the world that we are an optimistic and open country.”
Michael Dugher, chief executive of UK Music, added: “A record 30.9 million people went to live music events in the UK last year and generated £4 billion for the UK economy.
“Music fans poured into a huge range of festivals like Glastonbury, Latitude in Suffolk, The Great Escape in Brighton and Green Man in the Brecon Beacons. They also enjoyed seeing the best British new talent in smaller venues which are a vital part of the live music industry.
“We have seen the incredible power of music to heal when the country were united by the One Love Manchester benefit gig following the terrorist attack at the Ariana Grande concert.
“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.
“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. And, we will be pressing the Government to make sure the impact of Brexit does not damage our export trade or make it harder for UK artists to tour abroad and for overseas acts to come here.”