Spring through fall used to be prime time for live concerts, performances, and festivals. After being crushed by the pandemic, the live entertainment industry has been making a comeback. Live Nation Entertainment and Ticketmaster reported a surge in ticket sales for live events in Q1 that outpaced 2019. That’s a lot of pent-up demand.  

Is the ongoing impact of inflation and rising prices likely to ruin the party? Here’s a look at what’s in store this season according to CivicScience concert data.

Covid Takes a Backseat for Concert-Goers

Survey results show that Covid concern steadily fell this year as comfort resuming public activities grew. Comfort going to major public events is at its highest since 2020; currently 58% of U.S. adults say they would be comfortable attending a concert, festival, sports, or other live event right now, exceeding May and June 2021 comfort levels. 

That number could be propped up by the season and the fact that it’s easy to find plenty of outdoor events and activities. However, comfort resuming public activities such as going to concerts may be approaching a plateau, likely tempered by concern about being in public spaces due to recent events, in addition to Covid.

To Mask or Not to Mask

Although Covid may not keep the majority of people from attending concerts, it still remains a concern. More than half of concert-goers may wear a face mask when going to an indoor event (n=2,310).

Who’s Going to Concerts and Live Performances?

Taking a look at concert-going likelihood this year, a recent survey found that nearly 30% of respondents have attended one or more live concerts or performances so far in 2022. A little over half of concert-goers report they went to one or two concerts (n=2,695).

Attendance rates are likely to pick up this summer alone. Outlook for Q3 indicates that 37% of adults are likely to attend a live concert or performance this summer, with a possible added 8% currently on the fence (n=2,582).

Those aged 35 or under are the most likely to attend summer concerts. Well over half of Gen Z and Millennial adults will head to at least one concert or performance this year, while around 30% will go to three or more.

‘Tis the Season for Festivals

Music festivals made headlines in 2021 with the Astroworld Festival tragedy. With festival season well underway, the survey finds that one in five U.S. adults have attended a major festival or plan to attend one this year (n=3,091).

Here’s what’s on the bill this year. A look at a few of the biggest gatherings in the U.S. (past and upcoming) shows that the California music festival Coachella and New Orleans Mardi Gras rank as the most popular (both of which occurred this spring) – around 20% of festival-goers in 2022 went to at least one of these. That’s followed by upcoming desert arts fest Burning Man.

Inflation and Rising Prices Take Center Stage

Festivals are usually expensive events, which can include airfare, gas, and travel costs. The live concert/performance industry in general could feel the backlash of inflation. CivicScience data show that live entertainment is among the top five categories vulnerable to reduced spending – a total of 46% of Americans say they are cutting back on entertainment (not including streaming services).

The breakdown below reveals that consumers are limiting spending on most forms of live entertainment: 36% of consumers say they are spending less on live music concerts and performances, 34% on festivals, and 33% on live sports events. Going to the movies is also likely to be heavily impacted, further speeding the decline of the once-loved American pastime.

Segmenting by expectations for the summer season indicates that cost concerns are likely keeping people from attending any live concerts at all. Among the percentage of the population who do not plan to go to any concerts or performances, nearly 40% say they are cutting back on spending on live music and concerts. 

So although Covid continues to remain an issue, Covid concern isn’t likely to bring down revived ticket sales this season. On the other hand, an increasing number of Americans may be more selective about which concerts, performances, or live events they spend on in the months ahead, if any at all.