The 2019 Adelaide Fringe attracted almost 35,000 interstate and international visitors, a staggering 72 per cent increase compared to the previous year.
The much-loved festival also generated a record $95.1 million in gross economic expenditure for South Australia, including $36.6 million in visitor spending – up 24 per cent.
Adelaide Fringe’s impressive growth and overwhelming economic benefit to South Australia is highlighted in the festival’s Annual Review released today.
For 2019, box office revenue reached $19.5 million from 828,563 tickets sold (up 17 per cent) to further cement Adelaide Fringe’s position as the highest ticket selling arts festival in Australia and the second-largest Fringe in the world.
Attendances at free and ticketed events across the 31 days and nights of the Fringe jumped to an incredible 3.3 million (a 23 per cent increase) and visitor bed nights increased by 53 per cent to 150,257.
Adelaide Fringe Director and CEO Heather Croall said this year’s Fringe had surpassed all previous records, which was testament to South Australians’ passion for the festival and the dedication of artists, producers and venues operators.
“This year’s results paint a clear picture of Adelaide Fringe’s continued contribution to both the state’s economy and cultural vibrancy, which is something we can all be proud of,” Ms Croall said.
“As always, there were countless festival highlights but one element that stood out in particular and resonated with audiences was our increased focus on Aboriginal participation in the Fringe.”
Adelaide Fringe’s signature project for 2019 Yabarra: Gathering of Light, an immersive Kaurna storytelling experience along Karrawirra Parri (River Torrens), attracted 200,000 people throughout the festival.
Ms Croall said the 2019 Adelaide Fringe was also more accessible for audiences and artists than ever before.
“We want everyone to be able to enjoy the magic of Adelaide Fringe and we made that more possible thanks to a raft of new initiatives and partnerships with Deaf Can:Do and the Royal Society for the Blind.”
For the first time in the festival’s history, Adelaide Fringe produced an Access Guide and an accessibility audit of venues was undertaken.
Adelaide Fringe Chair David Minear said the festival was a major contributor to the cultural vibrancy and economy of the city and the state.
“We have certainly experienced dramatic growth in recent years, with 2019 the biggest increase of all. It’s an event clearly embraced by record numbers of Fringe-loving audience members year after year,” Mr Minear said.
“2019 was also a strong year for our extraordinary artists and great expose for our many partners, venues and supporters – all of whom are essential to this result and should rightly feel part of this success.”
Premier Steven Marshall said the figures reinforced Adelaide’s reputation as the must-visit festival city in Australia.
“These staggering results prove that Adelaide’s mantel of the Festival State is going from strength to strength. The Fringe is a significant contributor to our economy, and more than that, it transforms SA into the centre of the arts world for an entire month,” Mr Marshall said.
Nick Reade, Chief Executive of BankSA, which is the Principal Partner of the Fringe, agreed the festival continued to go from strength to strength.
“Year on year, the Fringe plays an important role in fostering new talent, generating jobs and income, and delivering real economic benefits. To South Australians, the Fringe is more than an arts festival – it’s part of who we are; our identity,” Mr Reade said.
“As South Australia’s local bank, we are passionate about being a catalyst for growth and vibrancy. Our long- standing partnership with the Fringe is just one of the ways we are doing this for the benefit of all South Australians.”
Adelaide Fringe’s economic figures are determined by an independent company, Economic Research Consultants, based on FringeTIX sales information and a survey of Fringe-goers, artists and producers.
Next year Adelaide Fringe will celebrate its 60th anniversary and host the Fringe World Congress. To celebrate the milestone, Adelaide Fringe is releasing a limited edition coffee table book filled with memories from across six decades. The book is available for pre-sale and Adelaide Fringe invites people to contribute a memory at adelaidefringe.com.au.
The 2020 Adelaide Fringe will run from 14 February to 15 March.