More than a million overseas music tourists visited the UK for gigs and concerts last year

A new report from UK Music found that 1.1 million foreign music tourists were lured by the pull of gigs and shows in the UK last year, in a sign of strength for the industry.

A new report from UK Music found that 1.1 million foreign music tourists were lured by the pull of gigs and shows in the UK last year, the highest number on record.

2022 was of course the first complete year of post-pandemic gigs, shows and concerts in the UK, giving a true indicator over its health beyond talk of lockdowns.

And, it turns out, things are pretty healthy – especially when it comes to music tourism and the numbers visiting the UK specifically to see the likes of Harry Styles, Dua Lipa and Stormzy.

In total, music tourism spending in 2022 was £6.6 billion, which sustained an approximate 56,000 jobs.

There was a new peak of foreign music tourists, with 1.1 million travelling to the UK from abroad for gigs, concerts and shows.

The ‘Here, There and Everywhere’ report also recorded domestic figures, with 13.3 million domestic tourists also travelling the lengths and breadths of the country to catch their favourite artists in the flesh.

Harry Styles

The report further found that with the pull of the likes of Wireless, Glastonbury and other major festivals:

  • Total attendance at UK festivals and concerts in 2022 was 37.1 million. 
  • A total of 6.5 million music fans attended festivals in the UK in 2022.
  • A total of 30.6 million people attended concerts (which includes everything from arena shows to grassroots gigs).

UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, has said: “Music is one of our country’s great assets – not only is it absolutely critical to the economic success of our local areas, but it also generates huge amounts of soft power and helps put our towns and cities on the global map. 

“In 2022, music pulled more than 14 million tourists into local areas and supported £6.6 billion of spending in local economies across the UK. This is a testament to just how important a thriving musical ecosystem is for our towns and cities.”

Grassroots music venues

Yet whilst the latest figures are no doubt encouraging, the report also recognises the continuing challenges being felt especially by grassroots venues and those lower down the pipeline. 

On average, as Jamie Njoku-Goodwin adds, one venue is closing every week and one in six festivals haven’t returned since the pandemic.

The new report has also included a ‘toolkit’ which includes recommendations for how local authorities can use existing funding to capitalise on their infrastructure and ultimately the revenue they can generate from a profitable sector.

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