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UK music tourism generated a £6.6 billion economic boost in 2022, says UK Music

By | Published on Tuesday 18 July 2023

UK Music

Music tourism in the UK surged last year following the end of COVID restrictions, with UK Music estimating that the number of British people travelling to another part of the country to attend live music events in 2022 was 13.3 million. Another 1.1 million international visitors came to the UK to attend a festival or show. And total music tourism spending across the year reached £6.6 billion.

This is all according to ‘Here, There And Everywhere’, the latest report from the cross-sector trade group on music tourism, which puts the spotlight on how live music draws people to certain towns, cities or regions, boosting local economies in the process.

For the purposes of its report, UK Music defines a music tourist as “anyone who has travelled at least three times the average commute for their region”, using postcodes attached to ticket purchases to identify which gig-goers have travelled that kind of distance to attend an event.

Some of those people have obviously travelled much further than that, including those that came from outside the UK to attend a festival or show.

When it comes to figuring out the economic impact, among the things taken into account are ticket sales, food and beverage sales, merchandise, venue parking, camping fees, accommodation, travel, and additional spending outside of venues while attending an event.

UK Music boss Jamie Njoku-Goodwin says of the latest stats: “The numbers show in certain terms what we all felt in 2022: the excitement for live music to come back for the first full year since the COVID-19 pandemic. With 14.4 million music tourists helping to generate £6.6 billion in spending across the year and supporting 56,000 full-time jobs, it really was quite the return”.

And, he adds, while the stats show the direct impact live music has on local economies around the UK, music at large arguably has an even bigger impact on tourism.

“The cultural soft power of music is a driving force behind tourism”, Njoku-Goodwin says. “The UK’s music scene has permeated global consciousness, shaping fashion, art, and even political movements all over the world. British artists have long held an ability to resonate with diverse audiences, transcending both language and cultural barriers”.

But, of course, it is no secret that much of the live sector has struggled commercially since the end of the pandemic, with the costs of staging shows and running venues increasing rapidly, but the cost of living crisis making it difficult to just increase ticket prices.

So, unsurprisingly, UK Music’s new report urges central government and local authorities to do more to support the sector to ensure future growth.

“There is a growing recognition of the need to support and boost music at the regional level to ensure the UK’s music scene can thrive”, Njoku-Goodwin goes on. “Local authorities are now actively exploring innovative strategies and initiatives to leverage music tourism as a driver of economic and cultural growth”.

To encourage such strategies and initiatives, UK Music has also produced a toolkit to help local authorities better support their local music communities.

Recommendations in that toolkit include “using data to ensure music is at the heart of planning and licensing policy”; “creating a register of available spaces and places to support music activities”; “enshrining music and the local community in regeneration and development”; and “setting up or supporting city-wide music advisory boards”.

You can download the new report here.