New study reveals how Brits really feel about the return of events from 17th May

  • Majority of Brits (46%) would prefer to return to events from July onwards
  • Businesses urged to create hybrid events by delegates in 2021
  • Festivals, weddings and networking events among events Brits are most eager to get back to after COVID-19


With government restrictions easing further from 17th May and events set to return in the UK, a new study reveals how Brits really feel about attending events post-COVID.

New insight from Leeds based events specialist AYRE Event Solutions delves into whether Brits feel comfortable attending events from 17th May, what events they are most excited to get back to and what event format they would prefer event organisers to run with.

Polling both attendees and event organisers1, the new research reveals that only 21% of delegates would feel comfortable attending events in May, with the majority (46%) saying they would only feel comfortable attending from July onwards.

Interestingly, 15% say they would rather wait until October 2021 to get back to events, with 6% saying they would prefer to wait until 2022 to attend an event again.

Looking at the events Brits are most eager to get back to from 17th May. The top ten events Brits would most like to attend in 2021 are:


  1. Festivals (55%)
  2. Weddings (54%)
  3. Webinars (26%)
  4. Networking events (23%)
  5. Workshops (20%)
  6. Business conferences (15%)
  7. Seminars (15%)
  8. Trade shows & Business awards (14%)
  9. Summits (4%)
  10. Galas/fairs, concerts, Christening, garden shows and theatre (0.4%)


Managing director of AYRE Event Solutions, Chris Ayre commented: “It’s no surprise that the British public is keen to get back out to big events such as festivals and to also celebrate with their friends and families at weddings. However, we are pleasantly surprised to see that nearly a quarter (23%) are keen to get back to networking events and workshops (20%). This is a really positive sign for businesses and event organisers looking to get their postponed events back in the calendar for 2021.”

The restrictions caused by the ongoing pandemic meant that over the past 12 months, event organisers have had to adapt their event formats. Virtual events became the norm as lockdown rules and regulations meant that in-person events couldn’t happen. But what event formats would people prefer in 2021? The new study from AYRE reveals that 48% of Brits would prefer to attend in-person events only, with a third (33%) preferring a hybrid format so they can choose whether to attend virtually or in person. A fifth (20%) of those polled said they would prefer to attend virtual-only events.

Chris Ayre said: “The way delegates engage with events has changed over the past 12 months and these stats prove that the best format for events in 2021 is a hybrid structure. By opting for in-person or virtual-only, event organisers run the risk of alienating large proportions of their audience.”

Looking at preferences per age group, over a quarter (27%) of under 30’s would prefer to attend hybrid only events alongside 38% of 30 to 49-year-olds and 36% of those aged 50+.

Interestingly, those living in Greater London are most eager to see hybrid event formats moving forward (67%) and residents in Wales and the East Midlands (71%) most likely to prefer in person events. Furthermore, a third (33%) of those living in Northern Ireland will most likely prefer virtual only events.

Managing director of AYRE, Chris Ayre summarises the study: “With events set to return from 17th May, we really wanted to hear how the general public is feeling about getting back out there and attending events.

“Our insight indicates that event organisers should maybe hold off any larger-scale events until the summer or even from September in order to achieve higher numbers. They should also opt for a hybrid format to avoid deterring any delegates from attending.

“It’s so positive to see that there is an appetite to attend festivals, weddings and networking events in 2021, and we are really looking forward to events returning once again! We hope our new study is useful to anyone looking to organise an event in the upcoming months.”

To find out more about the study, visit: 

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