Australia’s live events sector has urged the authorities to allow for the return of major concerts and full houses ahead of the summer months after a widescale survey found that most consumers would be happy to attend live events no matter how big the crowd is.

The EY study, commissioned by the Live Entertainment Industry Forum (LEIF) trade group, interviewed some 35,000 consumers and found that just 12% were uncomfortable attending live events with a large crowd. More than 80% were keen to see live events return with greater crowd numbers, and more than 50% were unconcerned about the size.

Only 5% of survey respondents noted that they would ‘not be impacted if live entertainment events did not return in 2021’.

The survey was published as South Australia became the third state to go into lockdown this month, with 13 million people – more than half of the country’s population – now impacted.

Roger Field, president Asia Pacific of Live Nation and co-chair of LEIF, said: “Other international markets are beginning to reopen and offer alternative touring options for artists so it is absolutely critical that we reach rapid alignment with the Federal and State & Territory Governments at National Cabinet level to ensure Australia does not miss out on this vital opportunity for the live entertainment industry to recover from the worst year in its long and storied history.”

The study also highlighted the desire among Australians for the return of international acts, with the country having effectively closed its borders and imposed strict quarantine rules since the outbreak of the pandemic early last year. More than 80% of the 35,000 consumers surveyed by EY indicated that they consider international artists to be a “significant” or “very significant” factor in their decision to attend live events.

Geoff Jones, chief executive of TEG and co-chair of LEIF, said the results underline the need for the Federal and State & Territory Governments to align with leading promoters to ensure vaccinated international acts and their crews can return.

Jones said: “We already know that international superstars love to tour Australia and that we offer them the best fans, the best weather and the best food in the world. We also know that shows by international artists generate 80% of concert ticket sales by value. They also generate the greatest economic benefit for our country through tourism, travel, hospitality, and other industries, and to our own industry which has been ravaged by the pandemic.

“EY’s findings show that Aussie fans are hungry for the world’s biggest performers to return to our shores and tour our beautiful country.”

Amid fresh lockdown measures to quash the current outbreaks of Covid-19, EY’s survey also spotlights the positive impact that live entertainment has on the nation’s mental health, showing that three-quarters of Australians saying they consider live events an important part of their work, social, and family life.

A spokesperson for the group said: “LEIF supports the restarting of live events with correct and responsible COVID-19 safety measures at venues with live audiences.”

Australia has held major concerts and sporting events since the start of the pandemic, with capacity crowds returning in April 2021.

Australia’s live music industry lost 90% of its revenue in 2020 due to the pandemic, according to a study published this month by professional services provider PwC.