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Are Americans and Brits ready for music festivals again?

Music festivals around the world seem to be back in business, and a reported 385,000 people turned up for the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago last weekend. Live events are slowly getting back on their feet, and concert goers are turning up to events in droves.

Lollapalooza required double vaccination, or proof of negative test before they allowed people in, but we wanted to understand a little more about how people are feeling as they begin to congregate in crowds once more. 

To understand if COVID-era opinions on live music differ across the US and UK, we used Relative Insight’s comparative text analysis. First, we used social listening software to pull tweets mentioning the words live music, music festival and concert from the last 90 days – then Using Relative Insight, we split the social listening data by location. Next, we compared US tweets against UK tweets to uncover the differences in how people discuss live music today.

Relative Insight approaches text analysis through the lens of comparison. Our software highlights the topic, words, phrases, grammar and emotion unique to each written data set. This form of analysis provides context, demonstrating how one language set differs from another. Here’s what we found:


Discussion on live music was much more likely to reference COVID in conjunction with festivals and concerts in America. We observed frequent use of words like vaccination, masks and delta variant in tweets mentioning live music. While this appears conscientious, many tweeters claimed they didn’t care about the risk.

Image: Insight card

Seeing the return of music festivals with Lollapalooza and Rolling Loud in Miami, gave some pre-covid concertgoers wanderlust. Our analysis found significant use of words like wanna, gotta, gonna and going. These soon-to-be ticket buyers were split between simply wanting to go to a show and already planning on going.

Image: Insight card

Unfortunately some concertgoers might have to wait a little longer. Twitter users complained of concerts being cancelled or postponed due to COVID and other reasons. While it feels like concerts have just about made a return, but it might only be for a limited time.

While many people are ready to see their favorite artist again, others still characterized the decision as risky. We observed frequent use of words like risking and danger from people criticizing lollapalooza attendees.

Image: Insight card


Much of the live music conversation in the UK was centered around small gigs in local pubs and parks. Even on that small scale, concertgoers were happy to be back. They used words like brilliant, fabulous, wonderful and great to describe their reintroduction to live music.

Image: Insight card

Apart from the music, attendees really missed that concert feeling – the intangible excitement you get from live music. Tweets used word like atmosphere, feeling, vibe and mood to describe their favorite parts of the concert experience.

Image: Insight card

Based on Twitter conversations, concerts are back on a larger scale in the US and therefore COVID remains a concern. Everyone is aware of the risk, but only some are willing to take it. In the UK, concertgoers are happy to be back even on a smaller scale.

COVID regulations vary by location, meaning opinion will too. Geographical comparison shows us how conversation varies across locations and cultures, informing communications needed to target specific location-based demographics.

Brands can track what people are saying about the same topic in different areas – cities, regions, countries and more. These insights give organizations, whether that’s brands, record companies or even music management agencies the insight to strategically target areas where people will be more likely to attend a concert, music festival or event.

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