What if we told you that London, despite its size and glamour, offers far less choice of events per capita than other cities across the country? Or that Glasgow, despite dominating the gigs scene, offers one of the most diverse choice of events? How about the fact that a West End theatre show is the cheapest in July?
Over the past few months, we at TickX have spent countless hours sifting through data from our archives to map the changing landscape of events across the United Kingdom. In the process, we came across some startling insights and a host of unexpected revelations.
The first question we wanted to answer was, which is the cheapest month for attending an event in a city?
For this purpose, we came up with tool that makes use of our price data to help you find out the cheapest month to watch a theatre show, attend a gig or laugh till your stomach hurts at a comedy gig (rather than your bank balance). For instance, the median price for a gig ticket in London in the month of April is £19.48, whereas in the month of February, you can get gig tickets for up to 38% cheaper.
Median Price Trends for Gigs in London
Likewise, in Manchester, the median price for gigs is far lower at £9.50, with the cheapest month being August. Interestingly though, we had assumed that the summer months would have the highest ticket prices, which is the case in most cities. But in Edinburgh, it’s actually the months of December and January where gig ticket prices are almost 35.30% higher on average.
One might argue against the use of median prices, yet the choice was motivated by the fact that median prices aren’t skewed by ticket prices of a few huge events and allow us to compare different cities on what a typical price for event tickets would be like.
With the pricing analysis completed for the few major cities, the next task we set our eyes upon was to map every entertainment event that occurred in the UK since 2014. To accomplish this, we used Leaflet.js in combination with d3.js to achieve the result seen below. What we wanted to find out was how certain neighbourhoods and cities have risen in prominence for a certain type of event and how others have waned. In Birmingham for example, Broad Street and surrounding areas features prominently as a clubbing area. We put all of these events together in an interactive visualisation where you can scroll through time to watch how some events became firmly integrated into the national entertainment scene while others ebbed away.
All September 2017 events
We found the most interesting visualisation to make was a per capita comparison of the cities. Just plotting events or displaying a heat map wouldn’t have served our purpose since it would have been severely biased towards areas with higher populations, as seen in the map above which contains dense clusters around all the major cities. So, we decided to rely on per capita measure of events.
We thought this was a better way to truly determine how residents of specific regions are serviced by events rather than rely only on the pure number of events. Once we had the results in place, Manchester emerged as the overwhelming winner when it came to events per thousand. The North-Western city boasted a staggering 79 events per thousand people. Brighton was second at nearly 60 events. The most surprising entrants to this ranking though were the towns of Holmfirth and Pitlorchy, each of them having close to 51 events to go around. London, due to the high number of people living there, had only 26 events to show for. Moreover, Manchester’s arch rival, Liverpool had only about 17 events.
Events per 1000 in various British Cities
This was not the only way we decided on to understand city level events distribution. We also wanted to find out how the events have been distributed, on average, in each city across the various categories, to answer the question: Which is the dominant event category in each city?
So to answer this question, we extracted all the events between 2016 and 2017 from our database and computed the averages. Once we had the numbers, we needed to figure out how to best represent them. We wanted to ensure that:
1) Our visualization allows us to compare multiple event categories across multiple cities and
2) We did not want to burden the user with the additional cognitive steps of repeatedly looking at a legend to understand a chart.
With these concerns, we slowly eliminated our options. Stacked bar charts was one possibility, but failed due to the second goal outlined above. Pie charts are in general terrible when it comes to perception of categorical data, additionally, accomplishing goal (1) would have also been difficult. Therefore, in the end, we decided on a calendar chart, which uses colour density to encode the categorical values. Darker colour indicates more number of events in that category.
Category wise event distribution over a 2 year period
As expected, London is dominated by the theatre scene with 44.1% of events belonging to that category on a night. Nonetheless, it’s not the only city that is fond of drama. Blackpool and Milton Keynes put on a fine performance with 45.2% and 49.5% respectively.
Manchester, on the other hand, shows a strong affinity for clubbing, with 34.6% of events being club nights. Despite the 34.6% and a huge student population to boot, Manchester isn’t the only city which is most fond of clubbing, that distinction falls on Sheffield, boasting a score of 43.7%!
In the gigs category, all cities have a fairly consistent performance yet those who emerge at the top are Bristol, Newcastle, Leicester, Norwich and Wolverhampton.
These four visualisations were just an initial foray into mapping and dissecting the events scene forour users. We plan to continue our efforts to dive deeper and bring more insights out into the openand tell stories based on real, raw numbers. Ultimately, we aim to change the way you buy tickets, so that you get the best value for your money and a trove of memories to take back once the event ends!
Thanks for reading.