News > Audiences need to be reminded of the benefits of attending

Audiences need to be reminded of the benefits of attending

Dancers performing with a live orchestra in the background.
Family of Jazz was presented by Decidedly Jazz Danceworks from April 28 to May 15, 2022. The show was taglined "Dance and music to feed your soul" which is an excellent example of communicating the benefits of attending a live performance. Unfortunately, the company was forced to cancel the last week of performances because of a COVID-19 outbreak among performers. Photo credit: Noel Bégin.

The spring edition of the New Experience Economy found that audiences in Alberta are still hesitant and non-committal. Comfort and price are key drivers in decision-making, but audiences need to be reminded of the reasons they had for attending the performing arts before the pandemic.

Among motivations for attending arts and culture events, survey respondents cited:

  • To get out of the house and be social;
  • To support my own mental health;
  • To try something unique/different.

These three benefits are particularly trending among respondents 18-34 years old. Report authors also observe: “Trying something unique or different is an emerging motivator that stems from the pandemic where consumers were forced to shift habits or preferences.”

These motivations are similar to the top benefits reported in the February edition of the Arts Response Tracking Survey:

  • Learn and experience new things;
  • Improve my mental health.

What about “having fun”? 

Of course, “fun” is the most top-of-mind answer that people give when you ask about their motivations for doing something. However, be careful not to read too much into it. “Having fun” is more a prerequisite than a driver for selecting one activity over another one. After all, who’s interested in a boring experience? Furthermore, past consumer studies found that there was little correlation between mentioning “having fun” as a motivator and actually attending cultural activities.

One final word of advice from the authors of the New Experience Economy: there is a trend away from long-term commitments to more flexible options that organizations need to consider. So, make sure your ticket refund or exchange policy is readily accessible on each event page rather than kept secret until the end of the purchasing process.

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Written by Frédéric Julien
Frédéric Julien has been leading research and development activities at the Canadian Association for the Performing Arts since 2010. In this capacity, he has directed or authored several key research initiatives such as The Value of Presenting, Vital Signs: Arts and Belonging, Digitizing the Performing Arts, as well as many analyses of Statistics Canada data series. Frédéric also leads the Linked Digital Future initiative, which seeks to enhance the discoverability of the performing arts.
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