The United Kingdom's live-music business in 2003 was hurt by the country's involvement in the Iraq war, according to a new annual report from the National Arenas Association (NAA).

The United Kingdom's live-music business in 2003 was hurt by the country's involvement in the Iraq war, according to a new annual report from the National Arenas Association (NAA).

In its report, the NAA claims the fear of potential terrorist attacks prompted several American artists to pull out of shows scheduled for British arenas. "The Iraq war certainly contributed to the results as U.S. artists were less willing to travel and for the first few months of 2003, we saw definite echoes of post-9/11," the NAA says.

Its figures, based on information supplied by 16 arenas, indicate the number of U.S. performers fell 12% year-on-year to 36.

The total number of music shows performed in British arenas last year dropped by 105 to 575 compared with 2002. And in the first three months of 2003, there were 60 fewer concerts compared with the same period in 2002. "The early part of 2003 was much quieter than 2002 with less shows staged and reduced attendances," says the NAA.

A surge in ticket sales in the last quarter of 2003 helped compensate for the downturn; Q4 accounted for more than 50% of that year's total arena shows.

The association was founded in 1991 as a forum for managers of concert and event venues with a minimum indoor seated capacity of 5,000.