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Worries about ticket sales, rising costs and staff shortages remain front of mind but organisers have "a much thicker skin" than before Covid.


Aranxa Esteve on Unsplash

Event organisers are optimistic and better prepared to cope with new challenges post-pandemic, a new report says. 

The 2022 Event Trends Report published by ticketing platform Eventbrite surveyed more than 4,500 respondents in the US, UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand at the end of 2021.

Nearly 75% said they were either "very or somewhat optimistic" about hosting events this year.


“Their hopefulness is driven by an overwhelming sense that the rest of the world is eager to gather in person again,” the report said.

"The past two years of skill building have made hosts exceptionally flexible. Compared to 2020, organisers have many more ways to host gatherings, a lot of practice pivoting swiftly, and a much thicker skin.”

Almost half of the organisers said the pandemic made them and their teams more resilient and creative. 

But optimism over the return to in-person events is tempered by the possibility of new variants, and this continues to affect sales.

Nervousness remains

Steve Heap, General Secretary of the Association of Festival Organisers, said UK ticket sales are still "not as good as we need". 

He told ArtsProfessional this was "partly due to the nervousness of our customers, who like all of us are not sure the pandemic is actually over".

“Last-minute booking is becoming the norm, which makes for some very nervous organisers.”

Heap said there are also serious concerns about staff shortages and “the eye watering price hikes of our supply chain”.

He continued: “Added to that, in 2020 the Government announced it would take away our rights to use tax-free red diesel.

“While the majority of festivals and outdoor events were ready for that, we were not ready for a full fuel tax and VAT to be slapped onto bio fuels and alternative energy.”

Sales varied in the Eventbrite survey: 50% of organisers said ticketing is below pre-pandemic levels, while about a quarter said they had increased, and another quarter were break even.

“As events power back up over the next year, organisers should be able to count on a return to more normal income levels," the report said.

Heap felt differently. 2022, he said, was unlikely to be "the bounce back year we hoped for" but rather that festivals would survive until an easier 2023. 

Diversity a priority

While one in four organisers were concerned about low attendance this year, half said bringing in diverse audiences is a priority.

Many said they will adopt a hybrid approach: 71% had hosted virtual events in 2021, and 49% intended to do so again in 2022.

Despite a drop in the number of planned online events, digital activity is set to continue at higher levels this year than before the pandemic. 

Virtual events brought in new audiences from broader age and ethnic groups, as well as reaching people in different geographic regions and improving access for disabled and clinically vulnerable audiences, and the report said there is a strong desire to build on this trend.

Among the reasons cited for this focus on diversity is the impact of the Black Lives Matter movement, particularly in the US.