UK music fans are sitting on hundreds of thousands of tickets for postponed concerts rather than returning them.
The latest four-week delay to fully unlocking Covid restrictions has pushed an additional 5,000 gigs into doubt.
Artists such as Rag’n’Bone Man, Olly Murs and Rudimental had scheduled shows between 21 June and 19 July and face a choice of postponing or scrapping gigs.
Industry body Live estimates the events scheduled for the next four weeks are worth £500m to the struggling sector.
It also means that fans remain out of pocket to see shows they forked out for many months ago.
One of the biggest event agencies in the UK, Ticketmaster, said that 83% of fans are choosing to keep hold of their tickets for rescheduled shows.
“Fans are entitled to a refund for any cancelled event and for any rescheduled show if they cannot make the new date,” said Andrew Parsons, Ticketmaster UK managing director.
“But it is great to see an incredibly high amount of fans holding onto their tickets. It just goes to show the unwavering demand from fans to get back to live.”
Fans choosing to keep tickets will be reassuring to an industry crippled by the pandemic.
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Greg Parmley, the chief executive of Live – which represents venues, businesses, crew and artists – said the latest delay to lockdown easing had left businesses and fans unable to enjoy the summer.
It also comes in spite of the success of the Events Research Programme, which has enabled trial events to go ahead to examine how large gatherings can take place safely.
“The government must now follow its own science if it is to avoid the decline of the UK’s world-leading live music industry, which absolutely cannot afford to miss out on another summer of cancelled events after a year on pause,” said Mr Parmley.
Notting Hill Carnival has recently been cancelled again this year due to the ongoing uncertainty around Covid-19 restrictions.
Organisers say it was “an incredibly difficult decision to make” but safety must come first and the risk of an eventual cancellation following the Prime Minister delaying the end of lockdown this week is too high.
This would have been the event’s 55th year. Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s biggest street party, was forced online last year due to the pandemic, but is normally attended by around 2 million people.
It comes as summer festivals are set to be cancelled this year as the Government is reluctant to underwrite the insurance costs for them.
Several festival organisers have warned they face serious financial losses if they push ahead with their events, only for them to be cancelled if the Government delays lifting restrictions again on 19 July.
Former Labour MP for Kensington Emma Dent Coad tweeted she was “gutted” Carnival has been cancelled but said that online activities the previous year were excellent.
“We’ll be having our own tiny Carnival with neighbours,” she wrote.
Several Twitter users questioned whether how long it would take for summer festivals to follow suit and announce cancellations.
The entertainment sector has appealed for urgent financial support.
The Society of London Theatre said the decision would “have serious implications for many theatres”.
And the Night Time Industries Association said the PM had “switched the lights off for an entire sector”.
Boris Johnson told a press conference the delay to lifting most remaining curbs on social contact was necessary to avoid “a real possibility that the virus will outrun the vaccines and that thousands more deaths would ensue which could otherwise have been avoided”.
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