In love, it is said, absence makes the heart grow fonder. In real life, the absence of music makes the head hurt.

A U.K. study found that the pandemic has created a pent-up demand for live music, an argument that has been repeated by concert promoters the world over. And that music fans have been lost without the experience of concerts.

For its “#ReviveLive” report, LIVE surveyed 25,000 music fans up and down the U.K.

Overwhelmingly, its authors say, music fans have missed watching the artists they love (91%), and the “sheer joy” of music (89%).

That experience goes deeper still, with 64% of respondents agreeing that the full-body experience of catching a show with friends had a real, positive effect on their mental health.

“Music really is a boost to mental health, and the data reflects that,” Chris Carey, LIVE Chief Economist and author of the report, tells TIO via email.

The report also found that music fans are hungry for concerts, with over 75% keen to go to a show immediately or with some “mitigation measures” in place.

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There’s evidence that demand is greater than ever, and that almost three-quarters of music fans have already bought event tickets.

The youngest demographics are the keenest, with 66% of under 24s already buying multiple tickets.

“One concern for the sector was whether people would be cautious or whether they would be quick to engage with music,” the report reads. The results are said to be “extremely encouraging.”

The Roundhouse - Theatre camden
The Roundhouse

The takeaways from the U.K. study shouldn’t be wholly applied to Australia’s landscape, though anyone who has visited both countries will be aware of their frenetic live music scenes.

For now, the similarities end there.

The U.K.’s lockdown has been long and brutal, and its rates of COVID infections (and deaths) soar well above those recorded in Australia. Promoters say Australia’s live sector is six-to-nine months ahead of European markets, though Canberra’s bungled vaccine rollout has made the events space here a fragile one.

The research was led by Carey in association with Katy Raines and Flo Carr from cultural sector-specialist consultancy Indigo Ltd.

The U.K. was very aggressive in vaccination plans, though a recent setback “will hurt a lot of small businesses,” notes Carey. One very clear failure there has been the slow distribution of agreed funds. “People are waiting months and will go out of business before funds arrive,” he continues.

LIVE formally launched in March 2021 with mission to “tackle the unprecedented challenge” from COVID-19 for the live entertainment industries. Today, the organisation’s members are a federation of associations representing 3,150 businesses, over 4,000 artists and 2,000 backstage workers.

Read the report in full here.