Festival audience


Tampere Region Festivals annual review 2022

The events industry slowly recovered in 2022

Tampere Region Festivals monitors the number of visitors and the economic development of its member festivals and cultural events. This is done by annually sending the members a questionnaire of their key figures. The most recent questionnaire was sent to thirty-four events held in Pirkanmaa region in 2022. In total, thirty-two events from ten different municipalities answered the survey.

The economic recovery is just beginning

After two challenging years living with the pandemic the year 2022 was thought to be the year when we could enjoy live events without restrictions again. However, according to the survey the pandemic was still casting a shadow on event organisers. The radically changed geopolitical situation and overall increased production costs also had a negative impact on the industry’s recovery.

On the other hand, ticket sales increased substantially. Combined ticket sales of all the events in 2022 were 5 726 363 euros compared to only 1 279 447 euros in 2021. Despite the growth the takings were still nearly 2 million euros behind from the pre-Covid year 2019 when the ticket sales reached 7 625 604 euros.

The figures are not completely comparable though, since the events might vary year to year. For instance, the figures of 2022 do not include the Tamperrada Pintxo Festival, but three new member events (KesäVirratSoi Music Event, Kirjalitta Children’s Literature and Literary Art Festival and Pirkkala Viking Fair) were held that year.

The audience numbers growing slower than expected

According to the organisers people’s need of physically being present at live events was clearly visible after the pandemic and for some events 2022 was a record breaking year when it comes to visitor numbers. However, most events still fell short of their target in ticket sales as well as the number of visitors. Especially ticket presales were noted to be harder than before. An unforeseen rise in production costs as well as Covid-related artist and performer cancellations added to the financial stress. Many events were organised on a smaller scale or held at different dates than normal which in turn explains the descent in visitor numbers in 2022.

Even though some of the organisers were disappointed by their visitor numbers in 2022 Pirkanmaa Region Festivals’ events had in total 598 340 visits of which 474 831 visits were in events held in Tampere. The numbers include all events with and without an admission fee.

In the annual survey of 2021 up to 73 % of the respondents considered it highly likely that live streaming would continue to be an integral part of their event in the future. However, in 2022 most events gave up live broadcasting and other forms of online programs altogether. The number of online viewers during the year was 19 000 making the total number of audiences 617 340 in all events in Pirkanmaa region.

Audience numbers in Pirkanmaa Region Festivals in 2019-2021

2022: live events 598 340, online events 19 000, in total 617 340
2021: live events 364 018, online events 176 056, in total 540 074
2020: live events 225 000
2019: live events 707 600

New volunteers and event staff needed

The recovery from the effects of the pandemic has only just started in the events industry. In addition to the economic challenges many have also experienced labour shortages in different areas of events organising. During the pandemic many industry professionals have switched to different fields and it has been increasingly hard to find experienced technicians, restaurant workers and security personnel. The number of volunteers has also dramatically declined during the pandemic. Organisers report that especially finding new volunteers has proven to be very difficult.

The members of Pirkanmaa Region Festivals think that the shortage of volunteers is due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, but there has also been a broader change of mindset when it comes to volunteer work:
”Covid still scares people. Finding volunteers has been challenging for the past two years”
”It was harder to find volunteers this year and we couldn’t get as many as we would have needed.”
”The biggest challenge is the ageing of volunteers. Trying to get new volunteers to commit has been challenging.”
”Recruiting new volunteers has been difficult but the old ones are happy to be back”
”People want to get paid a living wage. Some of the volunteers have found alternative jobs for the summer and are no longer able to volunteer. Also, some of the regular volunteers are ageing.”

The labour shortage in the industry has been addressed in Pirkanmaa region by for example organising additional education. TAMK (Tampere University of Applied Sciences) has a new continuing education programme for events professionals and semi-professionals that have moved to different fields or are only working part-time in the industry. Pirkanmaa Region Festivals has been involved in planning the education programme. In addition, the organisation is also running a project to improve the accessibility of volunteering. The aim is to secure the number of volunteers for events in the area as well as to increase locals’ involvement in cultural events in Pirkanmaa region.

Photo: Worker’s Music Festival 2022, Photographer: Petteri Niemi