Willingness to attend events, especially outdoors, is rising

April 2022

Cultural Participation MonitorWave 6 | Spring 2022

This research is from The Audience Agency's nationwide longitudinal (ongoing) panel survey of changing views about participating in creative and cultural activities through the recent and ongoing crises, and beyond, the Cultural Participation Monitor.



Overall there is much increased willingness to attend events and optimism about future attendance, though some groups continue to be especially concerned, with disabled people less likely to be willing or able to attend.

Overall willingness to attend

Willingness to attend overall is up to 39% saying they are ‘happy to attend’ (from 30% in November 2021), whereas 20% of people cite Covid-19 as a reason they don’t want to attend.

  • People are split on whether the end of Covid-19 rules makes them more or less confident, with around a third for each and the remainder saying neither.
  • They are also split on whether their in-person arts attendance will be the same or less than before the pandemic, with about 40% for both. This is itself an increase from November, when more expected to do less than to do more.
Figure 1. Column chart of wIllingness to attend arts/culture by CPM wave.

Perceived risk from attending indoor events

People still feel far less at risk of contracting the virus at outdoor events.

  • 39% of people think the risk of catching or spreading Covid-19 indoors averaged across all cultural events is high/very high, but this reduces to 13% when events are outdoors.
  • In comparison, 20% assume the same risk when doing day-to-day activities.

Wider attitudes to COVID-19

Attitudes to Covid-19 are still very divided, with the public holding a broad range of viewpoints.

  • Overall, more people say that they think that Covid-19 is not over and that they still take precautions than say the opposite.
  • On the other hand, more also say that it is time to get back to normal and that their own attendance is back to normal.
Figure 2. 4 column charts of levels of agreement with statements about the Covid-19 pandemic.

At an individual level though, people are generally more consistent with assessing risk, or being willing to attend events relative to their attitudes to Covid-19, than this overall picture may suggest. Meaning that the same people who think the threat is low and that we should be getting back to normal, are happy to return to indoor events and plan to spend the same amount on entertainment.

  • Those completely happy to attend are much less likely to assess a high risk of Covid-19 indoors, and 3 times more of them think we should accept Covid-19 and live normally compared to the overall population.
  • For those who think there’s a low risk, they are less than half as likely as people generally to say their spending on entertainment will decrease a little/a lot.

The groups more/less likely to attend

Older people and those with disabilities or long term health conditions remain the most cautious about 'getting back to normal', while under-25 year-olds are leading the return charge.

  • Those who identify as disabled/(D/d)eaf/having a long-term health condition(from now on ‘disabled’) are less likely to say they are back to normal in attending events and are even more likely to say they’ll attend events more locally.
  • Normal attendance levels are driven by the 16-24 age group, where over half agree they are back to normal.
  • Back to normal attitudes and attendance are also much higher in Asian/Asian British people.
  • As expected, the over-65s are more likely to say they won’t attend cultural events as often in the future.

Related videos

TEA Break | Initiators and Responders

Watch now

Cultural Participation Monitor | Latest Findings on Audience Attitude and Behaviours | Wave 9

Watch now

TEA Break: Bad behaviour? - What types of behaviour people prefer when attending culture

Watch now

TEA Break: From Interest into Action

Watch now

TEA Break | More Insights on Changing Audiences

Watch now

TEA Break | Key Changing Audiences for Art Forms

Watch now

Over to you…

We’d love to hear what you think of Audience Answers and your suggestions as to how we can improve it.

Have your say by filling in our feedback form