The downturn in consumer spending did not stop people buying tickets for live entertainment shows at Birmingham venues in 2008 according to a national ticket agent.
Peter Monks, business development manger at The Ticket Factory, the official box office of Birmingham venues The NEC, LG Arena and The NIA, says the economic downturn has only inspired people to treat themselves by seeing a live performance as they seek a form of escapism.
And while Mr Monks is buoyed by an upturn in the popularity of comedy shows, music concerts, sports events and theatre productions in the Second City he says it’s vitally important that venues continue to adapt through the current financial slowdown and appeal to the public.
“Fortunately for our business the event industry is still booming,” he said. “It appears that in these difficult times people still want to be entertained.
“The Ticket Factory plans to continue bucking the economic trend well into the New Year by providing customers with excellent customer service and benchmarking ourselves against the competition by making booking fees the cheapest in the market.”
Thousands flocked through the NIA gates last year with British pop band Coldplay proving the biggest draw followed closely by American rockers Kings of Leon and soul sensation Stevie Wonder while The Foo Fighters, the Horse of the Year Show and Strictly Come Dancing were the NEC’s three hottest tickets in 2008.
The Town Hall Symphony Hall group also thrived last year with Jimmy Carr continuing his trend of selling out shows while acts as diverse as Morrissey, Will Young, the Kings College Choir and pianist Alfred Brendel also sold out.
Director Andrew Jowett said: “The arts, curiously, get a reverse affect in times of economic difficulty. People are buying tickets to shake off the doom and gloom and are saying ‘lets go and enjoy ourselves’.
“It’s a strange anomaly. People are still buying tickets which is one of the big fears at the moment and it looks to be just about holding up.”
Seatwave, the UK’s largest fan-to-fan ticket exchange, ranks Birmingham as the fastest growing performing arts hub in the UK based on a review of sales figures in 2008.
Their research reveals a 300 per cent growth in ticket sales on its website seatwave.com for live entertainment in Birmingham with the NIA rated the second most popular venue accounting for three out of every 100 tickets sold nationally.