One in four adults comfortable returning to concert halls by end of June – poll

One in four adults would feel comfortable returning to concert halls by the end of June – more than football matches or nightclubs, according to a poll.

Research from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) suggests 26% of people would feel confident returning to classical music venues, while 28% would be happy attending the theatre.

This compares to 23% for football matches and 20% for nightclubs.

RPO survey
James Williams, managing director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO/PA)

The RPO’s nationally representative poll asked more than 2,000 adults when they would feel comfortable reengaging with a range of cultural activities, ahead of the expected end of social distancing measures on June 21.

Looking ahead, 39% of adults said they would feel safe returning to concert halls by the end of September, with the majority of adults (51%) planning a return by June 2022.

Although the urge to return to the concert hall by the end of June was largest in London (39%), there was also support in Scotland (29%), the North East (29%) the North West (28%) and the South West (28%).

The Southbank Centre in London recently announced its reopening programme, Summer Reunion, featuring RPO music director designate Vasily Petrenko conducting the orchestra in a programme of works including Rossini, Haydn and Vaughan Williams.

James Williams, managing director at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, said: “The public’s desire to return to live music this summer is an emphatic vote of confidence in the vibrancy of British arts and an acknowledgement that culture has a vital role to play in helping society to heal and rebuild after this dreadful pandemic.

“Music is one of Britain’s greatest exports to the world and yet, across the UK, the future of the live music scene has been on a knife-edge for more than a year. The support from the Cultural Recovery Fund has been most welcome, but as restrictions ease, the summer months will be crucial.

“Our research shows that 88% of people recognise the arts has been seriously affected by Covid and lockdown.

“It is now time to safely get people back to music venues, to begin the work of rebuilding the arts, supporting people’s wellbeing and giving a much-needed boost to the economy at large.”