Should Ozzy Osbourne become Birmingham's first official Rock Tsar?

A Government-backed report certainly suggests so, as it's revealed that music tourism boosted the British economy by £2.2bn last year

Will Ozzy Osbourne be Birmingham's first Rock Tsar? Cities across Britain should appoint a "music ambassador" to exploit their pop heritage, a Government-backed report says, after music tourists boosted the economy to the tune of £2.2 billion in 2012.

UK Music and VisitBritain have for the first time identified the value of international and domestic music tourism to the UK economy in a new Oxford Economics report tracking visitor numbers and their spending patterns at the UK's many thousands of gigs and world famous festivals.

The Wish You Were Here study found that "direct spending" by 6.5 million music tourists - buying tickets and paying for transport and accommodation for events ranging from Bestival to the BBC Proms - was worth £1.3 billion.

Further indirect spending, such as food and drink added a further £914m, generating a total spend of £2.2bn.

Music tourists from overseas spend, on average, £910 while attending festivals and £602 while attending concerts.

Although music-related events support 24,000 jobs across the UK regions, the report says more should be done to attract foreign visitors, who currently make up just 6 per cent of "music tourists".

"Cities steeped in musical tradition, such as Liverpool, have already made huge progress in creating a strong tourist trade around music," the report said.

"Earlier this year the city launched its Beat In The Mersey tour to promote other bands and music genres that have kept Liverpool rocking over the years. Other towns in Britain can replicate Liverpool's ambition and push their own musical heritage. New, music-specific tourist strategies could then be unleashed in these areas."

The report recommends a Birmingham City Council proposal to "establish a music ambassador" for the city, along with "a plaque scheme to celebrate musical achievement, a permanent hard rock exhibition and a music digital archive".

The birthplace of Black Sabbath, Birmingham's musical heritage stretches from reggae pioneers UB40 to the current B-Town scene which has spawned the indie groups Peace and Swim Deep. The West Midlands attracted 809,000 music tourists in 2012, the report said.

Ozzy Osbourne could be a candidate for Birmingham's music ambassador, whilst in Manchester the report praises the impact of Shaun Ryder and his Happy Mondays.

Shaun Ryder and the Happy Mondays - along with the rest of the Madchester scene - have been credited with helping Manchester's economy Shaun Ryder and the Happy Mondays - along with the rest of the Madchester scene - have been credited with helping Manchester's economy

"A vibrant music scene, such as that found in Manchester in the eighties around the Madchester movement, will have a major impact on a city or region's bottom line; creative workers and businesses will be attracted to an area with a thriving commercial music economy," it said.

Potential music ambassadors include Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner in Sheffield or the Dorset-based PJ Harvey as a regional ambassador promoting the South West.

The report also calls on the Department for Communities and Local Government to develop specific targeted "live music zones" within communities to "act as beacons for live music scenes". This could lead to "a further reform of licensing laws to enable zones to apply for a relaxation of time constraints on performances in order to compete with night time economies in other countries."

The authors suggest that a British city could be selected to compete with Austin, Texas, which has branded itself "the live music capital of the world" through its annual South By South West talent showcase.

Jo Dipple, UK Music CEO, said: "It's clear our music industry is doing a great job for the British economy. Just think what we might achieve with policies that specifically target the music tourist in this country and abroad? Our opportunities are limitless. Consider the record demand for Glastonbury 2014. The love of music is a powerful driver for growth."

Endorsing the report, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP said: "This year's Glastonbury reminded us yet again of just what a powerful force our music industry is. The Government is committed to continuing its support for the growth of both the music and tourism industries."

Domestic music tourists were defined as anyone travelling at least three times their normal commute to attend the concert or festival. That meant in some cases they had to travel distances up to 47 miles to qualify. Overseas music tourists were defined as those that purchased a concert or festival ticket from an overseas address prior to the live music event.

The ambassadors

London (1.8 million tourists), ambassador: Adele

Tottenham singer turned global superstar is the latest big name to emerge from the capital’s musical melting pot.

Midlands (983,000), Ozzy Osbourne

The region’s hard rock heritage is secure with the bat-biting Ozzy and Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant but One Direction’s Liam Payne, from Wolverhampton, may stake a claim for pop.

South West (464,000), PJ Harvey

Dorset-residing musician is flag-bearer for region which boasts Glastonbury and a thriving dub and dance scene in Bristol.

North-West (1.1million), Shaun Ryder

Madchester movement made major contribution to 2012 tourism figures with Stone Roses Heaton Park comeback shows. 

North-East  (194,000), Sting

Police man’s new Broadway stage musical hymns the Newcastle shipbuilding industry and could spark a fresh Geordie tourist boom.

Yorkshire and The Humber (380,000), Alex Turner

Fans already flock to the Sheffield sites which inspired Arctic Monkeys’s 2005 breakthrough in a city which spawned Human League and Pulp.

N Ireland (193,000), Feargal Sharkey

Former Undertones singer, immortalised in ‘Good Vibrations’ movie about punk-era Belfast, became head of UK Music lobbying body.

Wales (188,000), Nicky Wire

New Festival No 6 held at Portmeirion on Welsh coast, this year headlined by Manic Street Preachers, has boosted rock tourism to the principality.

Scotland (537,000), Nicola Benedetti

Classical is an important driver of musical tourism and the Ayrshire violinist offers a more elevated alternative to the Buckfast-fuelled T in the Park rock festival.

Music tourism by numbers

£2.2 billion - Total direct and indirect spend generated by music tourism in 2012

£1.3 billion- Amount spent directly by music tourists

6.5 million- Number of music tourists

41 per cent - Proportion of live music audiences that are music tourists

£657 - Average spend by overseas music tourists while in the UK

24,251 - Number of full time jobs sustained by music tourism



Dermot O'Leary attends the X Factor Wembley Arena auditions at Wembley on August 1, 2014 in London, England.


Arts and Entertainment
At this year's SXSW festival in Austin, Texas

Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall

Mexican government reportedly paying Bond producers for positive portrayal in new filmfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Disney’s flying baby elephant is set to return in live-action format
filmWith sequels, prequels and spin-offs, Disney plays it safe... and makes a pachyderm
Arts and Entertainment
Nazrin with Syf, Camden
The QI Elves photographed at the Soho Theatre. They are part of a team of researchers who find facts for the television programme 'QI'.
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv0-star review: Sean O'Grady gives it his best shot anyway
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss