Events data

If you are interested in obtaining a feed of live events data, please contact us at . Below, you’ll find a summary of our approach to collecting and distributing live events data.

Collection

Top level numbers

Within a seasonal pattern, Data Thistle has information on up to 49,000 future live events with more than 600,000 future performances at one of 80,000+ venues throughout the United Kingdom. It is the most comprehensive, accurate and forward looking set of UK live events data that exists. We also hold historical events data going back accurately across the UK from 2017.


Categories, tags and level of information

We divide data into top level categories: Film, Music, Days Out, Theatre, Kids, Comedy, Clubs, Visual Art, Dance, Books, Sport, Food and Drink, Talks and Lectures and Workshops.

Each top level category has subcategories, e.g. the first five Film subcategories - alphabetically - are action, adventure, animation, comedy, documentary. The first five Music subcategories are big band, blues, ceilidh, classical and contemporary.

Our classification system ensures that other attributes (artist name, type of event, etc.) can be used to build visibility of data in search indexes and enable connections across categories. It also allows us to segment and curate our events feeds based on our customers’ target audiences.

The data on each event will always include the event name, category, venue, date and time. Additionally, most events have descriptions, website links, images, prices and other important data. Where available, there will also be sub categories and other relevant tags, performance space information, phone numbers, performance-specific data (such as preview nights), trailers, video/audio clips and additional URLs. Each venue listing features full name and address, contact information, URLs as available and geo-location data.


Sources

The primary source of our information are venues (e.g. The Nerve Centre in Derry and Salisbury Playhouse), venue box office systems (such as Enta, Spektrix and Patronbase), venue owning groups (e.g. Ambassador Theatre Group, Cineworld), promoters (e.g. DF Concerts) and festival organisers (e.g. Edinburgh Festivals API, Brighton Fringe).

Other significant sources are site users (35,000 submissions annually), media and PR agencies and arts and cultural organisations.

Our ideal input is structured data from an API or feed which we augment by processing other less robust sources.

Daily, we process information covering more than 10,000 regular venues. In addition, we parse files from ticketing service providers and aggregators (e.g. TicketSource, See Tickets, Odeon) which enables us to offer users ticketing links for the specific performance they are interested in.

While we have the most comprehensive set of live events information the UK, none of the feeds we receive are complete for any genre (e.g. comedy) or geography. We’re always interested in new supplies of data from any originating source. Please do get in touch if you have events we are missing and could supply us with an export.


Quality – metrics

Our aim is to provide over 99% accuracy on core data points. We use validation processes to parse feeds received from event organisers to check for possible errors and use automated processes to match information from multiple sources. If we identify conflicting data, we create reports for our research team to check and we carefully monitor all feedback from site users concerning changes.

With the combination of automated loading, matching and human curation, we maintain a high quality of data and have continual activity to resolve exceptions and remove duplicates.

This doesn’t mean that our data is perfect but across the pandemic we found that, thanks to our quality checks, our data was often better than even many of the event data providers themselves.


Distribution

Clients

We provide our services to a wide range of public and private bodies including destination marketing organisations (VisitScotland, Visit Manchester, Visit Southampton), transport providers (LNER, Scotrail, Northern Rail), accommodation providers (Village Hotels, Hotel Cloud), media companies (Reach PLC, DC Thompson), universities (University of Edinburgh) and both the UK and Scottish Governments. The range of uses for our data is growing all the time.


Bespoke data feeds

Our live events data can be cut and sliced in many different ways based on your requirements. We can provide particular types of events based on categories and tagging or customer demographic profiles. Alternatively we might filter based on geography using postcodes, lat/ longs or a polygon map of a boundary. We can also provide information on events with a greater impact based on an understanding of the capacity of the event compared to the relative size of the location, e.g. a 5,000 person event in London will have limited impact compared to the same event happening in a small town.


Events data supply formats

We supply feeds in a number of structured formats including XML (e.g. RSS) and JSON, JavaScript widgets, in human-readable CSV for small deliveries and via our API. These can usually be constructed within a few days and allow full control over creating, updating and publishing the events contained in the feed.

Most of our feed users take data on a daily basis but some do so less frequently. All feeds have a ‘last updated’ date, to allow updates to be identified, and help make the load process easier and faster.


Data licences – Free to Fee

We provide a number of services that enable third parties to use our data, some free, some with fees. Free services include our JavaScript widget, RSS (or iCalendar) feeds and the free tier of our API.

For more complex solutions we price our data based on the quantity of data being provided, the usage purposes and the size of the audience being addressed. Each partner has different requirements so please get in touch with us to discuss your specific needs. We aim to price fairly and to build long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with all our partners.


Data licences – Terms of use

Terms related to the use of our data in our RSS and iCalendar feeds, API and JavaScript widgets are contained in the general terms and conditions of use of our site. There are terms related to the use of our API which are provided during sign up for an API key. For the bespoke supply of Information Services, a written agreement will be put in place.


Data users are required to provide a notice in a relevant page alongside a Data Thistle logo, and also a canonical link to any other relevant Data Thistle link location where appropriate. In addition, a copyright notice similar to © [current year] Data Thistle in a relevant location must be used.

Data Thistle will have the option to name ourselves as a supplier to you.


Types of event we gather - our taxonomy

Event type Category Examples Deterministic features Possible overlap into
Consumer 1 Sale at Harrods, craft fair, car boot sale, celebrity appearance Commercial, transactional Entertainment
Business and professional 2 AGM for BP, sessions of parliament, public lecture by Dir of Institute of Chartered Accountants Open to public, possibly some qualification to attend, free or moderate entry price Community
Community 3 Public Info Notices of planning meetings, blood donor locations, marches, church fetes Of interest to narrow geographic area, or well defined community of interest Business
Conference, expo 4 Crufts, Wedding World, Edinburgh International TV Festival Trade show with stands, speaker sessions, sometimes significant entry cost Consumer, business
Entertainment 5 The original and primary Data Thistle categories including theatre, music, dance, visual art, sport, etc. Consumer
Education, workshops, courses and classes 6 Rock Choirs, Yoga classes Led by a teacher Activities
Activities, physical recreation and participatory sport 7 Wildlife Trust walks, London Marathon Participatory Education
Attractions 8 Legoland, Albert Memorial, Green Park, British Library A range of places of interest that may be open 365×24, have daily or seasonal opening dates and times. May have timed entry tickets.
Restricted (generally, not for publication) 9 Private views, an employee only Christmas club night, press previews and photoshoots Invitation private views, employees only, personal events Business and professional
Other 0 Public and local holidays, weather and news events including marches, strikes and terror incidents Anything not covered above

Further information