Live music events 'contribute £1bn' to UK economy

Glastonbury crowd
Image caption The government should do more to boost the live music industry, UK Music said

Large-scale live music events in the UK contribute almost £1bn a year to the UK economy, a major industry survey of festivals and concerts suggests.

At least 7.7 million visits to events in 2009 resulted in £1.4bn being spent, equivalent to a positive contribution to the economy of £864m, UK Music said.

This expenditure sustained the equivalent of 19,700 jobs, it added.

Almost one-fifth of the total spend came from overseas tourists, who spend 25% more than non-music tourists.

'Considerable asset'

UK Music called on the government to implement a live-music tourism strategy to boost the number of visitors to the UK.

"The role of music in terms of creating jobs, in terms of sustaining businesses and in terms of attracting visitors to all regions of this country comes over loud and clear," said Feargal Sharkey, chief executive of UK Music.

"We will do all we can to work with policy-makers and tourism bodies to realise the potential of this considerable economic asset."

The body made a number of recommendations to the government, including:

  • Addressing concerns over the difficulties that overseas performers encounter with the UK's visa system
  • Working with the music industry to ensure that fans have an industry-approved facility to trade and sell on any tickets to live music events that they no longer need
  • Encouraging live music at the grass roots by exempting small venues from the licensing regulations in the 2003 Licensing Act.

Local economy

The research suggests that tourists spent £196m on concerts and £47m on festivals in 2009. UK music lovers spent £652m on concerts and £499m on festivals.

On top of this, £3m in total was spent on associated attractions.

Almost half of the total £1.4bn expenditure was spent outside music events, in local businesses such as hotels and restaurants.

Events in London generated the biggest proportion of overall expenditure, with overseas tourists and UK visitors spending more than £400m, sustaining almost 4,500 jobs, the report said.

The West Midlands was the next biggest contributing region, followed by north west England.

Bournemouth University's International Centre for Tourism and Hospitality Research conducted the analysis for UK Music's report, which was based on events attended by more than 5,000 people.

It had access to the data of more than 2.5 million ticket purchases to concerts and music festivals across the UK in 2009.

UK Music is an umbrella organisation representing the interests of the UK's commercial music industry.

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