News > Canadian Art Goers are Longing for Live Events

Canadian Art Goers are Longing for Live Events

A picture of a string quartet finishing off a concert
Tuckamore Festival, which is a chamber music festival based in St. John's, NL, held its 2020 edition 100% virtually due to COVID-19. Screen capture provided by Tuckamore Festival

Audiences are yearning for live performances, and the demand for online performances might very well decrease once in-person events resume. This is what consumer surveys conducted in Alberta and Ontario are indicating.

Demand for in-person events could exceed pre-COVID levels

In Ontario, the inability to enjoy the arts in person is leading to pent up demand, according to Wave 3 of the Audience Outlook Monitor (conducted in October 2020). 15% of respondents now expect to attend arts and cultural activities more frequently than before the pandemic. That figure has almost doubled since June.

Moreover, 93% expect to spend just as much or more on tickets to arts and cultural events once they’re able to return, up from 88% in June and 90% in August. While 7% still expect to spend less, 21% actually anticipate to spend more than before the pandemic. This is as good as news can be, given the current circumstances!

In Alberta’s New Experience Economy Wave 3, when asked to think ahead to 2021, consumers reported a much greater appetite for in-person entertainment than digital options. In-person options were appealing for 84% Albertans, with a strong preference for strict restrictions on crowd sizes. In contrast, digital options had appeal for one in two Albertans.

Balancing the supply and demand for online performances in 2021

As live attendance resumes, the enthusiasm about online performances is expected to waver. The New Experience Economy and audience surveys in the UK anticipate some retention of new online audiences acquired during the pandemic. However, for a majority of consumers, online performances are just a substitution activity while restrictions on in-person events still hold.

A decreasing demand for online performance offerings will put a lot of pressure on performing arts organizations who are still trying to figure out a viable business model for their digital programming.

Learn more

In order to help performing arts organizations navigate the digital shift amid a return to in-person activities, CAPACOA will kick off the 2021 series of All Access webinars with two webinars on online performances.

Online Performances, Part 1: A Short-lived Substitution Activity or a New Business Model for the Performing Arts? 

Tuesday, January 19, 2021 from 3:00-4:15 pm EST

Online Performances, Part 2: Providing value for the buck (and making a few bucks in return)

Tuesday, January 26, 2021 from 3:00-4:15 pm EST

Along with experts from the industry, we’ll explore different strategies for online programming and we’ll provide actionable insights.

These webinars are free. Register today!

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