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What We’ve Learned: Planning for a Safe Return

Since July 2020, Carnegie Hall has partnered with arts and cultural organizations in New York City and across the United States to survey audiences about their readiness to return to live performances in the wake of COVID-19. In advance of our 2021–2022 season, we are sharing several key findings based on this study conducted by leading arts consultants at WolfBrown and supported by AMS Analytics. This research will continue through December 2021—be sure to check back regularly as new information becomes available.

Carnegie Hall is closely monitoring current data and trends as we plan for audiences, artists, and staff to safely return to in-person events this October.

The following insights are from participating Carnegie Hall audience members (as of July 21, 2021).

New York City is starting to reopen.

When asked when they expect to feel comfortable returning to live events, 29% of respondents said September/October 2021. At Carnegie Hall, our first in-person concerts are scheduled to begin in October 2021.

The next highest group of respondents (26%) indicated they are already attending in-person events!  

Music-lovers are getting vaccinated.

As of July 21, 98% of Carnegie Hall respondents were either partially or fully vaccinated. Respondents from other cultural organizations in the area responded similarly (98%.) This places Carnegie Hall and New York City above the national average of 93% being partially or fully vaccinated.

Of those who had not been vaccinated, 30% of respondents in the New York City area stated they intended to get the vaccine. Learn more about getting vaccinated in NYC.

We are all eager to return to live music.

It’s clear that live music is missed. Of those surveyed, 86% expect to attend more or about the same amount of in-person cultural events as they did pre-pandemic.

The following are several comments from those who expect to attend more frequently:

“I wish I had attended more events pre-COVID. Sometimes I would consider purchasing a ticket to a concert or an opera, and I wouldn’t follow through, thinking that there would always be another performance to attend. There is no substitute for in-person musical events, and I miss them. And the musicians who have suffered, in so many ways, during this past year deserve all the support I can offer.”

“I miss the arts and want to support them!”

“I feel a great loss of culture and live concerts and theater. I will attend as many live performances of all types as soon as the public is vaccinated.”

Of those who expect to attend less frequently, many respondents listed health and safety concerns, relocation, and financial hardship as their reasons. No matter what, Carnegie Hall will be here when you are ready and able to return. We also invite you to check out our free, outdoor Carnegie Hall Citywide programs in all five boroughs.

Online programming is here to stay.

Of the survey respondents, 58% watched an online cultural program within the past two weeks. Once in-person events resume, 76% believe that virtual events will still play a small or substantial role in their arts consumption.

More than 40% of respondents have watched at least one online program offered by Carnegie Hall during the pandemic. Many of these streams are still available to watch on demand!

Carnegie Hall is getting ready.

Above all, the health and safety of audiences, artists, and staff is our top priority. We are working in close consultation with medical and public health experts to follow guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control, New York State, and New York City for increased health and safety procedures.

We also recognize that ticket holders need flexibility—we are ready to accommodate exchanges or refunds as circumstances evolve.

The pandemic landscape continues to shift and we realize that audiences have questions about what to expect when they return. Rest assured that Carnegie Hall will issue clear guidelines well in advance of our reopening this October.

Read more about our commitment to you as we navigate the coming months together.

We’d like to hear from you.

If you receive an invitation to complete a survey about your readiness to return to live events in the coming months from Carnegie Hall or from one of our partners, please consider participating. Your feedback is important to us and helps us make critical decisions.

We cannot wait to welcome you back to Carnegie Hall!

Photo of Carnegie Hall by Jeff Goldberg / Esto.

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