US independent venues now facing ticketholder no-show rates of up to 50 per cent

Independent venues in the United States are facing ticketholder no-show rates of as high as 50 per cent, according to the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA).

The organisation, which was formed in March 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic first broke out and represents indie music venues, promoters and festivals, shared the statistic during a January 19 hearing before the US House Small Business Committee titled “The Power, Peril, and Promise of The Creative Economy”.

“Today, the rollercoaster ride of the pandemic continues,” said NIVA representative Raeanne Presley, who co-owns the venue Presleys’ Country Jubilee in Branson, Missouri. “Traditionally, about five percent of ticket buyers don’t attend performances. But now, sagging consumer confidence is causing national no-show rates as high as 50 per cent.

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“This is devastating, because most of our venues rely on in-house sales to pay core bills. We are also now confronted with increased costs due to inflation. Just in the past month, I’ve received notices of impending price increases from our trash hauler to our concession suppliers to our janitorial service.”

This follows a recent Wall Street Journal report which found that between 17 per cent and 20 per cent of ticketholders did not attend shows in 2021.

The report added that the hardest-hit acts were legacy artists with aging fanbases, including The Eagles, Billy Joel, and The Flaming Lips, who all reported no-show rates of 20 per cent.

Last week (January 20), the National Independent Venue Foundation, which is part of NIVA and focuses on non-lobbying efforts, announced the reopening of its Emergency Relief Fund to provide economic relief to independent music and comedy venues, festivals, and promoters across the US.

So far, the fund has awarded a total of $3,170,000 to entities in 40 states, made up of $2,800,000 to 148 independent venues and $370,000 to 18 independent promoters.







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Last month, UK industry experts disclosed that “some gigs” in the UK face up to 40 per cent of audiences no-showing.

Sacha Lord, night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester and Parklife Festival boss, told The Observer: “We’re seeing a big drop-off, even at really hot, sold-out shows. It’s happening every single night, and it’s affecting all artists.

“The knock-on effects of this are phenomenal. It’s decimating the whole industry,” he added.