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EUROPE, WHERE  HAS YOUR AUDIENCE FOR CONCERT AND OPERA GONE?


Is Europe becoming a less cultural continent? The findings of a new Eurobarometer survey on cultural access and participation – the first on the topic since 2007 – suggest this may be the case. Although there are marked differences between Member States, in general fewer Europeans are engaging in cultural activities, as performers or spectators.

"Culture is a source of personal fulfilment, creativity and joy. I am concerned that fewer EU citizens are involved in cultural activities, as performers, producers or consumers. This survey shows that governments need to re-think how they support culture to stimulate public participation and culture's potential as an engine for jobs and growth. The cultural and creative sectors also need to adapt to reach new audiences and explore new funding models. The Commission will continue to support cultural access and participation through our new Creative Europe programme and other EU funding sources," stated Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.
                 
How many times in the last 12 months have you ... at least once?
The survey shows that the most common form of cultural participation in the EU is watching or listening to a cultural programme on television or radio (72% did this at least once in the past 12 months, a 6% decrease since 2007), followed by reading a book (68%, down 3%). The least popular activity is going to see an opera, ballet or dance performance (18%, no change).

In terms of frequency of participation in all types of cultural activities, from reading to visiting a museum, Northern countries score highest, led by Sweden (43% describe their rate of participation as high or very high), Denmark (36%) and the Netherlands (34%). At the other end of the scale is Greece, where only 5% report high or very high participation rates, Portugal and Cyprus, 6%, Romania and Hungary, 7%, and Italy, 8%. Moreover, 34% of the EU population say they never or hardly ever participate in cultural activities, a 4% rise since 2007. This figure has significantly increased in some countries, such as Hungary (54%, +26%), Romania (55%, +14%) and Greece (63%, +8%).
                    
How many times in the last 12 months have you been to a concert?
Concert-going was most popular in northern European countries. In Sweden 61% and Denmark 60% of citizens went to a concert at least once in the last year. Respondents in Portugal (19%), Poland (22%), Greece (23%) and Romania (25%) were least likely to have done so.

The youngest respondents were most likely to have been to a concert at least once in the last year (51%), while those aged 55 and over were least likely to have done so (24%). These respondents will have gone to a range of concerts including classical, folk, pop and rock. Respondents who had studied beyond the age of 19 and those still studying were the most likely to have been to a concert at least once in the last year, with 57% of those still studying and 49% of those who had studied beyond 19 having done so.

Respondents who described themselves as “high” on the social scale were more likely to have been to concerts, with 48% going at least once, than those positioning themselves at the bottom of the scale (only 24%). It is striking that self-positioning on the social scale has a stronger correlation with concert-going behaviour than difficulties paying bills. Respondents who had least difficulty paying bills were most likely to go to concerts, with 40% going to at least one concert in the last year, compared with 22% of those who have financial difficulties most of the time.
      
How many times in the last 12 months have you seen a ballet, a dance performance or an opera?
Respondents in Sweden were most likely to have attended a ballet, dance performance or opera, with 34% doing so at least once in the last twelve months. Citizens in the Baltic States were also relatively likely to have done so: 25% in Estonia, 24% in Latvia and 23% in Lithuania had been to a ballet, dance performance or opera at least once in the previous year. Only 8% of citizens in Portugal and 9% in Greece and Cyprus had done so.

There was a spread of ages among respondents seeing a ballet, dance performance or opera. The time respondents spent in education also correlates with participation in this cultural activity: 26% of those still studying and 29% of those who had studied beyond 19 had been once or more in the last year, compared with just 7% of those who left school aged 15 or younger and 14% of those who left school aged 16-19.

Respondents who described themselves as high on the social scale were most likely to have attended this type of activity: 27% of this group had seen a ballet, dance performance or opera in the last year, compared with 12% of those who positioned themselves at the bottom of the scale. Respondents living in large towns were also more likely to see a ballet or opera production, perhaps because these activities were more accessible locally; 22% participating in this activity were from large towns, compared to just 14% from rural villages.
Lack of interest, lack of time and expense are the main barriers to participation in cultural activities

Across the EU Countries, respondents generally said that lack of interest or lack of time are the main obstacles to participating in a particular activity. Lack of interest is the main reason for not going to more concerts (29%), visiting a museum or gallery (35%), going to the theatre (36%), visiting a public library (43%) or attending a ballet, dance performance or opera (50%).

Lack of time is the main reason for not going to the cinema (30%), watching or listening to a cultural programme on the TV or radio (31%), visiting a historical monument or site (37%), or reading a book (44%).

Cost is also an important factor and “too expensive” is mentioned as a reason for not going, or going less often, to the theatre (20%), the cinema (22%), or a concert (25%); however, expense is not the main obstacle mentioned by respondents for any one of these cultural activities.
                
Why you haven't been or haven't been more often to a concert in the last 12 months?
In a significant number of Member States, respondents believe that concerts are expensive and that this is a barrier to going more often. Expense is the most important obstacle in Spain, Lithuania (both 33%), Greece (32%), Bulgaria (31%), the Netherlands (29%), France, Ireland (both 28%) and Estonia (27%). Expense is slightly more of an issue in Portugal than in other Member States, at 35%, but a greater proportion of respondents mention lack of interest as the main obstacle (40%). Limited choice or quality of provision is a significant barrier in Romania (30%), Greece (22%), Bulgaria, Latvia and Sweden (all 20%), as well as in Croatia (20%).

Going to a concert is of less interest to older respondents, with 40% of those aged 55 and over saying that lack of interest is the main reason for not going or not going more often to concerts in the last 12 months. There is more enthusiasm among younger people, and only 20% of the 15-24 age group mention “lack of interest”. Expense is an important reason mentioned by 15-24 year-olds (35%) and 25-39 year-olds (30%) for not going or going more often. Among those aged 55 and over, only 18% mention expense, which becomes less significant with age. Interestingly, there is a link between education and concert-going: 46% of the respondents who left school at 15 or before give lack of interest as a reason for not going to concerts; this falls to 19% among those still studying. Understandably, students are also most likely to give expense as a reason for not going to concerts or not going more often (37%), compared with 22% of those who completed their education after the age of 19. The cost of concert-going is a critical factor, and 41% of respondents who often find it difficult to pay bills gave this as the main reason for not going to concerts more often, while lack of interest was mentioned by only 28%.

            
Why you haven't seen or haven't seen more often a ballet, a dance performance or an opera in the last 12 months?
In the case of ballet, dance performance or opera, a majority of respondents in 26 EU Member States and in Croatia say that lack of interest is their main reason for not participating more. Citizens in Cyprus are the least interested, 64% choosing this as the main reason for not participating.

The youngest age group is most likely to give “lack of interest” as a reason for not seeing a ballet, dance performance or opera more often or at all in the last 12 months, 60% of 15-24 year-olds stating this reason, compared with 48% or less in the other age categories. Women are more likely to engage with these cultural activities than men, with 41% of women admitting to “lack of interest” compared with 58% of men.

Among those respondents who say they have “difficulties paying bills most of the time”, 28% give expense as a reason for not participating in these cultural activities more, but lack of interest (45%) still proved to be the main factor.

 

A EUROBAROMETER FACTSHEET of your country can be found here.
 

Special Eurobarometer 399: CULTURAL ACCESS AND PARTICIPATION

Fieldwork: April – May 2013 / Publication: November 2013

Conducted by TNS Opinion & Social at the request of the European Commission, Directorate-General for Education and Culture and co-ordinated by the Directorate-General for Communication.
   
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