A new study from Leeds-based AYRE Events Solutions has revealed that festivals are the event that Brits are most looking forward to attending again following government restrictions easing from 17 May.

The research, which polled both attendees and event organisers, revealed that 46% of Brits would prefer to return to events from July onwards, as opposed to 21% feeling comfortable attending events in May. 15% said they preferred to wait until October and 6% until 2022.

With 55%, festivals came out on top as the most popular type of event, followed closely by weddings (55%), then webinars (26%), networking events (23%) and workshops (20%) also in the top five.

AYRE’s study also found that just under half of Brits would prefer to attend in-person events only, with a third preferring a hybrid format so they can choose whether to attend virtually or in person. A fifth of those polled said they would prefer to attend virtual-only events.

As for preferences per age group, just over a quarter of under 30’s would prefer to attend hybrid only events alongside 38% of 30-49-year-olds and 36% of over 50’s.

The data showed that 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. A third of those living in Northern Ireland will most likely prefer virtual-only events.

AYRE Event Solutions managing director Chris Ayre said, “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 are keen to get back to networking events and workshops. This is a really positive sign for businesses and event organisers looking to get their postponed events back in the calendar for 2021.”

Ayre added, “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.

“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.”