84% drop in performance venue attendance in 2020
Québec, November 17, 2021. – The COVID-19 pandemic left its mark on the performing arts sector in 2020. After reaching 8.7 million admissions to performance venues in 2019—a record high since the survey began in 2004—attendance dropped by 84% in 2020 to 1.4 million admissions.
In 2019, admissions were up for all disciplines except dance. The increase was particularly strong for French song (+32%) and English song (+21%) shows. In 2020, these two disciplines posted sharp declines (-86% and -91%), as all disciplines did. This was revealed in La fréquentation des arts de la scène au Québec en 2019 et 2020 published today by the Observatoire de la culture et des communications of the Institut de la statistique du Québec.
Show attendance by discipline, Québec, 2016 to 2020
Source: Institut de la statistique du Québec, Observatoire de la culture et des communications du Québec.
Québec shows attracted 6.5 million showgoers in 2019 (+14%), a new record in this survey. In 2020, despite an 82% decline, the market share of Québec shows increased to 91% of performances, 81% of attendance, and 73% of ticket revenues—three new highs.
Attendance up in most regions
In 2019, seven regions reached a new high for performance venue attendance, and only three regions saw a decrease in attendance. In 2020, attendance was down in all regions, with declines ranging from -76% in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean to -88% in Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine.
Shows presented in the two central regions, Montréal and Capitale-Nationale, accounted for 57% of admissions to all Québec venues in 2020, the lowest proportion since the survey began in 2004. The earlier closure of venues in these central regions during the second wave in the fall of 2020 and the absence of foreign artists on Québec stages could partly explain this result.
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