Participation and attendance in the arts can foster social capital, economic regeneration and skill acquisition. For these reasons, encouraging greater arts participation and attendance among disadvantaged groups became part of the New Labour strategy to promote neighbourhood renewal and tackle social exclusion. It is, however, far from clear what policies are best suited to achieve the aim of greater involvement in the arts. One policy option is to award subsidies to lower admission fees. Using 14 years of data from the UK Family Expenditure Survey, the article examines whether lower prices stimulate attendance at live performances overall and among low-income groups in particular. Findings indicate that while ticket prices influence attendance generally, the response of different income groups is similar, with a 10 per cent increase in price accompanied by a 9 per cent drop in demand. This means that, while price controls may be effective in increasing overall attendance levels among all groups in the population, including among low-income groups, they may not prove adequate whenever the main aim is to reduce the gap in participation across social groups.