How events are recovering in the top ten US states: Leading Demand Indicators August 2021
With the USA passed halfway back to pre-pandemic event levels for attended events such as sports, expos and festivals, cities and companies are gearing up to make the most of the resurgence in events and the demand these drive. But simply taking your 2019 levels and assuming you’ll receive ~60% from the same demand patterns would be a mistake, as consumer behaviours have shifted and each state is recovering at a different rate.
In late July, we published a report on the current recovery rate of events and how the USA events economy is on track to reach 2019 levels again in early 2022, if trends continue at their current pace. Today, I want to explore how each category of attended events across the top ten US states by population are returning.
Depending on what your company does, different events will be more impactful upon your demand. For examples:
Sports events drive major demand for transport and food & beverage venues around the stadium, as well as a surge in take-away and home delivery orders from those watching along at home.
Let’s take a closer look at how each of the largest states is performing on seven kinds of events:
Performing arts events
Don’t see the event category or states you need to know about? Get in touch with our team.
California: Catching up fast
The USA’s biggest state with a population of almost 40 million had some of the most careful pandemic management with the longest lasting restrictions. These were lifted in mid-June and since then the state has consistently been one of the most active states scheduling events.
For example, here are the busiest states booking in new events this month:
Yet California still has some way to go to return to pre-pandemic levels, for all event types.
Upcoming impactful events in California include:
Kern County Fair in Bakersfield from September 22 to October 3 with 360,000 people expected to attend.
Fremont Festival of the Arts in Downtown Fremont on September 25 - 26 with 320,000 people expected to attend.
Sawdust Summer Art Festival at Laguna Beach from July 2 to September 5 with 160,000 people expected to attend.
Texas: Quick recovery due to pent up demand
Texas was one of the fastest recovering states in early 2021 event recovery, as a backlog of postponed expos, festivals and more were scheduled. For example, in June 2021, they had 267% of attendance across all expos compared to expo attendance in June 2019, and festivals were at 234% of 2019 levels.
While June was an exceptionally big month, Texas continues to recover swiftly.
Upcoming impactful events in Texas include:
State Fair of Texas in Fair Park, Wylie from September 24 to October 17 with more than 2 million people expected to attend.
Pecan Street Festival - Fall in Austin from September 18 - 19 with 240,000 people expected to attend.
GrapeFest in Downtown Main Street, Grapevine from September 16 to 10 with 210,000 people expected to attend.
Florida: Early eased restrictions enabled a quick recovery for some event types
Florida had some of the most aggressive restriction easing, which has enabled larger events to be organized earlier than some of the more cautious states. It has also picked up a range of larger events that have traditionally occured in other states, with cities such as Orlando benefiting significantly from this.
Upcoming impactful events in Florida include:
NASCAR Xfinity Series - WAWA 250 at Daytona International Speedway on August 27 with 80,000 people expected to attend.
Coke Zero Sugar 400 at the Daytona International Speedway on August 28 with 80,000 people expected to attend.
Pensacola Seafood Festival at Sevilla Square from September 24 - 26 with 68,000 people expected to attend.
New York: Slower to recover but gaining ground
New York City was severely impacted by the pandemic early on, and maintained restrictions to manage the spread of the virus in such a densely populated city for many months. Since restrictions began easing, there has been an explosion of events across the state, mostly in NYC.
Interestingly, it is one of the few states with a rapid recovery of conferences, which is typically one of the slower categories to recover, which is great news for accommodation providers.
Upcoming impactful events in New York include:
Eagles Concert at Madison Square Garden on August 22 with 16,000 people expected to attend.
Dan + Shay Concert at Madison Square Garden on September 16 with 16,000 people expected to attend.
New Order with Pet Shop Boys Concert at Madison Square Garden on September 22 with 16,000 people expected to attend.
Pennsylvania: Festivals outpacing sports into Fall
For the first half of 2021, Pennsylvania was one of several states enjoying a sports-led recovery. But in the next few months, festivals will take the lead in Pennsylvania’s event return. The state eased its remaining restrictions on May 30, 2021.
Festivals are one of the highest impactful event categories for communities and business. These usually multi-day events tend to be larger than say concerts and also many expos, and drive significant people movement.
Upcoming impactful events in Pennsylvania include:
Bloomsburg Fair at the Bloomsburg Fairground from September 24 to October 2 with 320,000 people expected to attend.
Celtic Classic Highland Games and Festival at the Colonial Industrial Quarter from September 24 to September 26 with 224,000 people expected to attend.
Ball State Cardinals vs Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium on September 11 with 84,000 people expected to attend.
Illinois: Getting ready for a sudden surge in expos and festivals
Similar to Pennsylvania, Illinois’s event economy recovery was all about sports for much of this year, but a tidal wave of expos and festivals will transform the state in the second half of 2021.
Expos is one of the fastest recovery event categories across the US, as industries used to gathering in person can finally begin to come together again at scale. The return of expos is one of the most promising signs for the travel and coordination businesses that relied on business travel prior to the pandemic.
Upcoming impactful events in Illinois include:
Illinois State Fair at Illinois State Fairground from August 12 to 22 with 407,000 people expected to attend.
Septemberfest at Robert Atcher Municipal Center Grounds from September 4 to 5 with 200,000 people expected to attend.
The Sandwich Fair at the Sandwich Fairgrounds from September 8 to 12 with 140,000 people expected to attend
Ohio: Recovery trend yet to emerge for fastest returning events
Ohio’s recovery is a particularly interesting one, as there is yet to be a clear pattern established in the 11-million strong state.
But it does keep to a trend we are seeing across many states: the summer months after the pandemic are receiving record levels of festivals being scheduled, which is also true for the next state on this list also.
Upcoming impactful events in Ohio include:
October Zinzinnati Festivals in downtown Cincinnati from September 17 to 19 with 400,000 people expected to attend.
Canfield Fair at Canfield Fairgrounds from September 1 to 6 with 272,000 people expected to attend.
Great Darke County Fair at the Dark County Fairgrounds from August 20 to 28 with 152,000 people expected to attend.
Georgia: Festival led recovery
Georgia is enjoying a surge of festivals across the state, ranging from the Atlanta Pride Festival through to the North Georgia State Fair and the Yellow Daisy Festival.
What’s notable about Georgia at this time is how there isn’t much difference between July and October when it comes to event levels and types, but new events are being added every week.
Upcoming impactful events in Georgia include:
North Georgia State Fair at Jim R. Miller Park and Event Center from September 23 to October 3 with 240,000 people expected to attend.
Yellow Daisy Festival at Stone Mountain Park from September 9 to 12 with 160,000 people expected to attend.
Duluth Fall Festival at the Duluth Festival Center from September 25 to 26 with 100,000 people expected to attend.
North Carolina: Steady recovery despite one of the latest restrictions easing dates
North Carolina eased all remaining restrictions on June 1, with only California (June 15) and Vermont (July 4) easing their restrictions after it. Yet North Carolina has one of the most even event recoveries across all categories, and is making steady progress towards their 2019 event levels.
Upcoming impactful events in North Carolina include:
North Carolina Apple Festival at Henderson from September 3 to 6 with 200,000 people expected to attend.
IBMA World of Bluegrass in Raleigh from September 28 to October 2 with 176,000 people expected to attend.
North Carolina Mountain State Fair at Western North Carolina Agricultural Center from September 10 to 19 with 137,000 people expected to attend.
Michigan: recovery led by sports, expos and festivals
The USA’s tenth most populous states is experiencing a recovery similar to many US states: an early surge of sporting events with expos and festivals rapidly catching up with a very busy summer.
In Michigan, expos and festivals are already on track to outperform 2019’s attendance levels in October.
Upcoming impactful events in Michigan include:
Woodward Dream Cruise expo at Woodward Avenue on August 21 with 800,000 people expected to attend.
Motor Bella Expo at M1 Concourse from September 21 to 26 with 619,000 people expected to attend.
Detroit Jazz Festival in Downtown Detroit from September 3 to 6 with 200,000 people expected to attend.
PredictHQ tracks 19 kinds of events across 30,000 cities. As events recover, companies need to know what’s coming up and how it will impact their demand so they can be sure to prepare their inventory, staffing and pricing to make the most of every available opportunity.
To find out how leading companies such as Uber, Domino’s and major hotel chains are using this data, explore our use cases.
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