Tuesday 21 November 2017

Gigs, festivals and theatre rake in a €1.7bn live bonanza

Foo Fighters played to a sold-out crowd in Slane in May 2015. Photo: Arthur Carron
Foo Fighters played to a sold-out crowd in Slane in May 2015. Photo: Arthur Carron
Melanie Finn

Melanie Finn

It's music to the ears of event promoters everywhere.

Live entertainment events in Ireland generated a massive €1.7bn in revenue over a 12-month period as people flocked in their droves to concerts, festivals and theatrical shows.

This was in addition to the actual ticket price of the event, and means that for every €1 spent on a concert or show, some €6.06 is generated in the rest of the economy.

More than four million people attended Ticketmaster events on this island between March 1, 2015 and February 29, 2016, creating employment for nearly 11,500 people.

This included almost 300,000 overseas visitors.

In total, live events were behind some 3.7m bookings in Irish hotels and guesthouses, the equivalent of 54 'sold out' All-Ireland finals at Croke Park.

The findings were revealed in a new report, 'Let's Celebrate 2017: the Cultural and Economic Contribution of Live Entertainment Events in Ireland'.

It saw contributions from some industry greats, including former U2 manager Paul McGuinness, MCD co-owner Caroline Downey, as well as chart-toppers Robbie Williams and Michael Bublé.

When it came to the Republic alone, some €1.3bn was generated by live events, which were attended during that 12-month period by 3.4m people, of whom nearly 440,000 came from the North or overseas. Justin Green, of Wide Awake Communications, who carried out the study, said the entertainment industry was "frequently overlooked" when it came to its importance to the economy.

"It is not always respected as the viable and tangible professional industry that it is, unlike many other similar fields," he said.

Of the nearly three million tickets sold for live events in the Republic during the period covered, some 2,262,090 were for music gigs, 860,946 were for arts, theatre and comedy events, and 293,375 were for family events and exhibitions.

Music events in the State drummed up €900m in additional revenue, while arts, theatre and comedy generated €300m.

Family events created a surge of €61m to the economy.

The report does not represent the total attendance at live events in Ireland, given that it only covers Ticketmaster sales.

It does not take into account the estimated 100,000 people who went to free live events during that 12-month period.

The average age of most attendees at events in the Republic was 25 to 34 at 30pc, with just over 25pc in the 35 to 44 age group, and 20pc in the 16 to 24 age group.

When it came to rating their experience at Ticketmaster events in Ireland, most attendees gave them the thumbs-up.

Of nearly 6,000 respondents surveyed, they gave an average rating of 8.8 out of 10 for the quality of the event.

Some of the biggest concerts during the time period covered would have included Fleetwood Mac at the 3Arena, rockers AC/DC, and Foo Fighters, who played a huge gig at Slane Castle in May 2015.

Irish Independent

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