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Bristol Live Music Census – MusicTank

Bristol Live Music Census

07 Mar 2016

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Buckinghamshire New University publishes new research that reveals the vast economic, cultural and social impact of live music to the city of Bristol in 2015. The Bristol live music census found that last year live music generated £123m of revenue towards the local economy and helped support 927 FTE jobs in the city.

Recent concerns about the future of live music venues in the UK prompted Bucks New University and UK Music to undertake this census of live music in Bristol, a city known for its vibrant and influential live music scene. Most worryingly, the census revealed that 50% of the city’s music venues were affected by development, noise or planning issues, which poses a huge threat to the future of this vibrant ecosystem.

UK Music has campaigned heavily to Government for the introduction of an Agent of Change principle to planning laws, in order to prevent new developments sweeping our vital music infrastructure and incubating hubs for new talent out of existence.

The census showed that live music is very much a part of the culture of the city. Music fans of all ages, both in and outside the city attend concerts regularly as part of their weekly routine – nearly a quarter of audiences on the night of the census travelled more than 10 miles to Bristol to enjoy the live music on offer. Nearly a third of audiences on the night were over the age of 40 and 41% said they attend at least three gigs per month. This culture of participation, community and engagement acts as a stimulus for both economic and cultural activity that is sustained through the generations.


The results of the survey produced several key findings:

  • Live music generated £123m of revenue for the Bristol economy last year (2015), equating to £45m in GVA (Gross Value Added).
  • Live music supported 927 FTE jobs in Bristol in 2015.
  • The research identified 94 dedicated music venues or venues where music is played across the city.
  • Average capacity of the small venues taking part in the survey was 210.
  • 50% of venues said they were affected by development, noise or planning issues.
  • 41% of the audience interviewed said that they attended 3 or more live music gigs per month.
  • 32% of the audience spent between £20 and £50 on tickets per month.
  • The audience spent an average £18 on merchandise inside the venue (on the night).
  • Nearly a quarter of the audience – 24% – come from outside of the Bristol area and travelled over 10 miles to a music event in Bristol.
  • 45% said they had heard about the gig through word of mouth.
  • 72% of musicians surveyed said they were playing more live gigs than the previous year.
Sectors: Live