A survey of patrons held Feb. 24 to March 7 by Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center received 347 responses via email and social media, along with thoughtfully written comments.
"The input will help us make decisions as we look to reopen," noted marketing manager Roberta Emerson.
Key findings were as follows:
People are eager to come back, but they're cautious.
The majority anticipate returning to live performances in the fall, although about 20% think 2022 is more likely or are not sure. For this summer, 29% said they were not comfortable returning, and more than 41% would only be comfortable in audiences at half capacity.
The arts will be a priority.
For 89.5%, live performing arts events are important or very important to their lives. While 68% plan to attend at the same level as before, 18% expect to attend more.
Coming back will depend on safety.
Only 15.5% expressed resistance to COVID safety restrictions such as masks and social distancing, and a number of written comments emphasized the importance of enforcing and respecting them.
What they want.
When facilities reopen, 78% want outdoor concerts; 55.5%, free cultural events; 47%, music and tribute shows; 26%, art exhibits and small performances.
What they don't want.
When the Bankhead Theater reopens, more than 47% percent said they will not be interested in virtual events; another 23% would only be interested "if the price is right." But most responses indicated they were "worn out on everything virtual."
Nearly 50% of the respondent regularly attend more than three events a year, and one-third were members, donors or sponsors. Many wanted to be more involved, volunteering or finding friends to attend performances or make donations.
Some 71% of respondents wrote about what they missed, and the main answer was the "energy" and "visceral excitement" of sharing live performances.
"In reviewing the data and reading the nearly 400 comments of support, praise, criticism, suggestions and recommendations, we are reminded again how fortunate we are to have such an involved and enthusiastic community helping to keep the arts front and center in all our lives," Emerson summarized.
For complete survey results, visit livermorearts.org.