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Attendances down for live music at racetracks in 2019

Music acts performing after horse racing events has seen a downturn in ticket sales during the 2019 season, pointing to the effects of poor weather and an over-saturated live entertainment market.

In recent years, it has become popular for racecourses to host live music acts after a race day, but this year York Racecourse reported it had been a “hard summer” with regards to concerts.

York Racecourse’s chief executive William Derby said on the three days it staged music, crowds were down by 25,000 compared to last year. He also added that during the 18 days of racing, crowds had increased from last year on nine days, but went down on the three days with live music.

He said, according to Racing Post: “We had Busted, James Arthur and Tears For Fears and they all gave very good performances, but we were about 25,000 racegoers down across those three days compared with last year.

“We’ve been two per cent up outside our three music days, nine of the other days showed an increase on 2018. The music was affected by the awful weather at the end of July and the artists that we had.

“It has been hard this summer for all racecourses. There are a lot of people offering music, not just racecourses, so there are a lot of venues and there haven’t been that many artists performing. So there has been a certain amount of over-supply.”

Derby also rebuked criticism that fans arriving just for the music days were not engaged by the racing.

He said: “We are doing music very deliberately to attract a different customer base to York. We invest a lot of time and money when they are here in explaining what’s going on in the racing and making sure they can’t just turn up for the concert.”

Image: DS Pugh