Willingness to attend has not changed significantly since February 2021, despite the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination.

Key Findings

  • The June wave of our Cultural Participation Monitor shows a major increase since February in the proportion of audiences that have been vaccinated, although this has not yet led to a significant shift in willingness to attend cultural events. More detail.
  • This finding may be offset by the keen participation of families, especially those with very young children, the majority of which have been engaging with arts and heritage during the pandemic. More detail.
  • There may also be some scope to attract typically less engaged audiences, who have expressed less concern about Covid-19 safety measures. More detail.

Declining worries about illness do not translate to increasing comfort with attending arts and culture events

The roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination has caused perceptions about safety to shift, but overall willingness to attend cultural events has not changed significantly since February 2021.

After six months of vaccination roll-out, just over half of all respondents reported having received both jabs.

  • Over 95% of those 65 or older report have had both,
  • as well as 84% of those aged 55-64
  • and more than half of those aged 45-54.

The roll-out of vaccinations appears to have eased people’s worries about falling ill with Covid-19, with audiences over the age of 45 significantly less likely to be worried about this than they were in February.

Worried about falling ill with Covid.png

Despite this, the same audiences remain cautious about attending cultural events after restrictions ease, and willingness to attend has not changed significantly since February.
  • A third of those aged 65-74 say that they would need to see a significant reduction in risk first, which is the same proportion as in February.
  • While half of people younger than 45 say they believe current safety measures are too extreme in relation to the risk, this view is shared by only approximately 15% of those older than 55.
  • There has been a rise in the number of people who say they are not interested in attending cultural events.
  • This change is especially pronounced among older groups, with 16% of people over the age of 75 now not interested compared to 7% in February.

Willingess to attend as things open up.png

Conversely, the most significant change in willingness to attend was expressed by the Home & Heritage group, which tend to be over 60, retired and living in small towns.

  • 28% say they are happy to attend cultural events compared to 22% in February.
  • At that time, half of this group said they would first need the risk to be reduced significantly or the virus effectively eradicated, a figure that has now dropped to one third.

Among the most highly-engaged audiences, Commuterland Culturebuffs are the most risk-averse.

  • Though three quarters have had both jabs and less than half are personally worried about falling ill with Covid-19, only a third are happy to attend, showing almost no change since February.
  • About 40% say they need to see a significant reduction in risk or the virus effectively eradicated before they are willing to attend cultural events.

Only a quarter of the also highly engaged Experience Seekers, who tend to be more urban, have the same reservations.

  • This is despite the fact that more Experience Seekers report have had to shield due to being at risk, at 25% compared to 14% of the Commuterland Culturebuffs.

Young families are much more willing to attend

Families are much more likely to attend cultural events as restrictions ease, with the likelihood increasing even further for those with younger children.

  • 38% of families with children under the age of 16 say that they are happy to attend cultural events without reservations, compared to just 26% of other respondents.
  • This figure is 42% for families with a child under 5 and falls to 28% for those whose youngest child is between ages 11-16.
  • This is despite the fact that half as many respondents with a child under 16 had had both jabs than those without (31% and 61% respectively).
  • Families with a child younger than 5 were also twice as likely to report having had to shield than child-free households (40% and 19% respectively).

No arts or heritage activities during the pandemic.png

In line with the families’ reported willingness to attend, 65% of families with a child under 16 say they have done an in-person arts or heritage activity during the pandemic. This is compared to 36% of the other respondents.

Heritage Activities.png

Families with a child under 16 attended all heritage and arts activities in higher numbers during the pandemic.

  • This includes activities not typically targeted towards children, such as opera, ballet and live music.
  • This could reflect the fact that more than a third of 25-44 year olds, who may be more likely have young children, said in February that they were happy to attend cultural events. This figure was less than 20% for over 65s.

Arts Activities.png

Less engaged audiences are less likely to be vaccinated but also less concerned about Covid-19 safety measures

Broadly speaking, less engaged audiences are less vaccinated than those that are more engaged.

  • Only 38% of Facebook Families and 36% of Kaleidoscope Creativity, both of which tend to be lower income, report having received both jabs compared to the average of 53% for all respondents.
  • A third of the Kaleidoscope Creativity group, who tend to live in the city, reported having had to shield due to being at risk.
  • About half of these two groups agree or strongly agree that they worried about falling ill with Covid-19, which is in line with the overall response.

Attitudes towards Covid safety.png

Despite these concerns, these two groups are the most likely to agree that that current Covid-19 safety measures are too extreme (44% and 43% respectively compared to 32% for all respondents), and less likely than other respondents to think the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination is an important factor in feeling comfortable returning to normal.

This may explain why less engaged groups say they are about as willing to attend cultural events as the more engaged groups, with a third saying they are happy to attend and another third saying they would consider attending with reservations about Covid-19 safety.

Again, this is particularly true of Facebook Families and Kaleidoscope Creativity.

  • Only 20% of Kaleidoscope Creativity say they would need to see a significant reduction in risk or the virus effectively eradicated, compared to about 30% of the more engaged groups.
  • Both the Facebook Families and Kaleidoscope Creativity report having engaged less than other groups in a wide spectrum of recreational activities during the pandemic.
  • 14% of both groups had been on holiday in the UK, compared to 22% overall, and just under half had visited a park or other open space compared to 57% overall.
  • Members of the Kaleidoscope Creativity group played sport and visited the gym slightly more than most other groups, but 56% said they had gone on a walk or cycle compared to 65% overall and only 24% had visited a pub or bar compared to 34% overall.
  • It is possible that these respondents will be looking for more opportunities to get out and be active.