A crowd at Parklife festival. Image credit to Daisy Denham

Music tourism generates £696 million spend in the North West, says UK Music report

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UK Music has unveiled the huge potential of music tourism to boost the economy and generate jobs in the North West.

This comes as policymakers and music industry leaders – including UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin – descend on Liverpool (July 14) for the first Modern Music Cities Conference.

The eagerly anticipated resurgence of live music in 2022, the first full year of post-COVID festivals, gigs and concerts in the UK, brought in 1.9 million music tourists to the region, showing the impressive reputation of the North West for live music events.

The figure includes 120,00 foreign tourists and 1.8 million domestic tourists, who came to the region in 2022.

This also breaks down as 1.6 million people who attended concerts, such as Stormzy at the M&S Bank Arena Liverpool, Elton John at Anfield Stadium, Liverpool, Dua Lipa at the AO Arena in Manchester, or the BBC Philharmonic at Bridgewater Hall, Manchester.

There was an extra boost to concerts in 2022, as many events had been held over from 2021 due to cancellations caused by the pandemic.

This also includes smaller and grassroots music venues such as The Deaf Institute, Gorilla, and Night and Day in Manchester, and the Cavern Club, Camp and Furnace and Invisible Wind Factory in Liverpool.

The report also reveals that 300,000 attended festivals such as Parklife, Creamfields, Liverpool International Jazz Festival, Bluedot, Kendal Calling and Beat-Hearder.

Music tourism supported £696 million in spend in the North West. This includes ticket sales, food and beverage sales, merchandise, venue parking, camping fees, accommodation, travel, and additional spending outside of venues while visiting the UK for a live music event, as well as spending indirectly supported by such businesses’ supply chain.

The report also found that in total five million people attended live events in the North West in 2022. This figure includes locals and music tourists (domestic and foreign).

The figures come from a major new report from UK Music called Here, There and Everywhere, which is set to be released on uly 18. The report will reveal the music tourism data for the UK, including breakdowns for Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the English regions.

The report highlights the economic value that music can bring to regions, featuring a guide for local authorities on how to maximise music’s potential, and also the cultural value that music can contribute to tourism.

It also looks at how major events such as Eurovision, should be looked at not only for the economic value, but also for the legacy that they can establish, with a case study from Jennifer Johnston, opera singer and Liverpool City Region Music Board member on this topic.

Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, chief executive of UK Music, said: “The North West is a real powerhouse when it comes to the UK music scene and has produced some of our best performers, including The Beatles, Cilla Black, The Stone Roses, New Order, Oasis, and Mel C.

“Venues in the major cities like Liverpool and Manchester draw in legions of music fans from across the world to see some of the best talent around, including those produced by fantastic places like the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts.

“Music has been a key ingredient in the North West’s economic and cultural success – and it is critical to the region’s future too.

“By harnessing the power of music, towns and cities across the North West can generate thousands more jobs, boost economic growth and lure even more visitors to the region.”

Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “The North West is the heartbeat of music in this country. The music created by our artists from Manchester, Liverpool and the towns surrounding is loved throughout the world and it’s so pleasing to see people in their millions coming here to experience live music, in the region that does it better than anyone.

“The potential our music and live entertainment industries have in the North West is huge both in terms of boosting our economy and creating good, skilled jobs. This is exactly why I have announced my ambitions to introduce the Greater Manchester Baccalaureate (MBacc) as a new clearer education pathway into more technical roles within our city-region’s most thriving industries.

“It’s also vital we support our upcoming artists at every opportunity we get, and I have launched my Artist of the Month initiative to help give Greater Manchester’s musicians a platform to grow.”

Sacha Lord, founder of Parklife and Greater Manchester’s Night Time Economy Adviser, said: “It’s excellent news so many visitors enjoy coming to the North West because of the region’s brilliant music scene and delivering a much-needed boost to our local economy.

“We have some amazing music venues which, along with festivals like Parklife and thousands of gigs, play such a critical part in nurturing the diverse range of talent we have here.

“The report’s invaluable toolkit outlines how the music industry can continue to flourish, supporting thousands of jobs, not just in music but right across hospitality and a range of other sectors.

“We’re keen to work with local authorities to keep on bringing in music fans to Manchester, Liverpool, and towns and cities in every corner of the North West.

“However, with the cost-of-living crisis, rising production costs and the threat to some venues, we need planners and licensing officials to work with us to ensure the North West’s music scene can continue to thrive and reach even greater heights.”

Image: Parklife/Daisy Denham