Uswitch for Business poll reveals continued energy bill worries for venues and theatres

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Uswitch for Business has revealed that high energy bills are continuing to drive closure worries for theatres, concert halls and UK music venues.

The energy comparison service surveyed 100 UK venue decision makers in June, with 27% of respondents relaying that they were concerned about potential closure due to continued rising costs. 

Performance venues are often energy-intensive spaces thanks to air conditioning and heating, as well as sound and lighting systems. 

Venues also reported that they were running at half capacity (50%) on average, with more than one in four selling fewer tickets this year, compared to 2022. Consumers that do attend live performances have been more inclined to choose less expensive seats or spend less on refreshments. 

One in six venues reported that they had to increase ticket prices by an average 25% per ticket to cover costs, with a quarter also having to increase the price of refreshments. 

Additionally, venues have looked into reducing energy output by training staff in energy efficiency measures (45%), switching to more energy efficient or LED lighting onstage and offstage (41%) and turning off, down or restricting air conditioning and heating (36%). 

Some 19% of respondents also said they were only opening doors during peak times of the week, with 17% trying to use less energy intensive movable staging and production measures. 

Three in five businesses cited bills as their top concern for the next year, followed by inflation rates and staff costs. Two in five feared they may have to make staff redundant to reduct costs and one in three worry they will not be able to pay their energy bills on time. 

“Live performances are central not only to the UK’s culture and entertainment sector, but also to the UK economy,” said Jack Arthur, energy expert at Uswitch for Business. “While the sector has seen some recovery since the pandemic’s impact, the cost of energy has added new additional challenges.

“With higher utility costs taking the stage, venues need to be meticulous about how energy usage is being considered at all levels of their organisation – from the stage floor to sound production. Investing in more energy efficient appliances where possible may help to bring costs down, and prevent the final curtain for many.”

Arthur added: “Music venues should also make sure they’re aware of their energy contract terms and end date, so they can shop around for the best rates at the time of renewal. Getting expert  advice where needed and speaking to someone could help many businesses make significant savings.”