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An overwhelming majority of festival-goers, who have received refunds on their tickets for 2020, say they will rebook tickets for next year, new research commissioned by UK Festival Awards and Brothers Drinks reveals.

Before the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown in March, more than three quarters of festival-goers had already bought tickets for this year’s events, with consumers planning to attend an average of 2.76 live events in 2020, setting the industry up for a bumper year.

In what will come as a confidence boost to beleaguered festival organisers who then had to cancel events because of the pandemic, nearly all (91%) festival-goers requesting a refund on this year’s tickets said they would be likely to rebook for next year, with over three quarters 'very likely' to rebook, according to the UKFA COVID-19 Insights Survey on live events, sponsored by Brothers Drinks and undertaken by research specialists CGA.

Offering much needed hope for the future for festivals and live events, over half of regular attendees said they had confidence in the 2021 festival season, while over a third planned to attend more live events next year (if allowed) to make up for those missed in 2020.

The exclusive research reveals that while 30% of festival-goers would be happy to attend a live event this year (provided government restrictions are lifted) 26% would be cautious in doing so and 18% would attend as long as there were additional health precautions taken. Around 42% said they would feel more comfortable attending local events rather than travelling to large-scale live events across the UK.

A clear majority of festival-goers expect live event operators to implement extra health and safety precautions going forward, with most expecting more hand washing facilities, free hand sanitisers, improved toilet facilities and a restriction on attendee numbers. One in four festival-going respondents expected live events to provide personal protection equipment for attendees – while another 47% expect operators to implement temperature checks on entry.

“The good news for the sector, after a year of challenges, postponements and cancellations is that customers indicate that they will return, if operators can demonstrably step up hygiene, health and safety efforts, ensuring safe environments for customers,” commented Charlie Mitchell, Research and Insights Director at UK Festival Awards.

“There is a genuine goodwill towards live events from consumers who are keen to support the sector through this difficult period – so let’s hope we can all enjoy music, culture, arts and food and drink together in a field before too long.”

The survey also found that seven out of 10 festival-goers would like the line-up of rescheduled events to be the same, although understand this may not be possible. Value for money seems increasingly important post-lockdown with the majority of festival-goers expecting to pay similar ticket prices for rescheduled events; and 49% agreeing that value for money will be more important at future live events that it has been previously.

“It’s clear from this research that the majority of festival-goers are looking forward to next year’s events and organisers will be delighted that so many of those surveyed are keen to re-book tickets,” commented Nicola Randall, Senior Marketing Manager at Brothers Drinks Co.

“The pandemic has naturally changed people’s thinking somewhat, bringing new concerns around health and safety as well as value for money. The challenge for operators will be to incorporate these measures but still create the unique atmosphere of outdoor live events and festivals, which is why they’ve become such a popular part of the summer season both in the UK and across Europe,” added Randall.

* The research was undertaken using a sample base of festival-goers via online surveys in March 2020 (with 1,400 people) and in May 2020 (with 1,511 people).

(source: UK Festival Awards and Brothers Drinks, image: pexels)