Adelaide Fringe has well and truly exceeded its target to sell more than 700,000 tickets for this year’s festival, which saw more than 1200 events unleashed on the city, suburbs and regional SA over the past four weeks.
Organisers are citing a world-class program, improved accessibility for artists and audiences and stunning summer weather as key contributors to another record-breaking year.
With tickets still being sold until the festival ends on Sunday night, it is predicted 708,500 tickets worth a total of $16.6 million will be sold as part of the 2018 Adelaide Fringe. Ticket sales are up 7.6 per cent compared to last year.
The festival’s removal of inside charges for tickets under $35 and halving the inside charge for all others has meant at least an extra $1 million will be paid out in box office settlements to Fringe artists and venues.
The Adelaide Fringe was the first Fringe in the world to abolish inside charges on ticket sales, and this has meant artists will end up with more money in their pockets from this year’s Fringe than they would have in previous years. The Fringe was able to do this with support from the South Australian Government, and organisers say the Adelaide Fringe will continue to strive to increase the box office settlements for artists in the future.
Smaller venues made up 54 per cent of ticket sales while the three major outdoor hubs (the Garden of Unearthly Delights, Gluttony and Royal Croquet Club) had the remaining 46 per cent.
Adelaide Fringe Director and CEO Heather Croall, who oversaw her third Fringe this year, said the bumper program of more than 1200 events was second to none when it came to the diversity and quality of works on offer.
"Words can hardly describe how wonderful this year’s Fringe has been,” Ms Croall said. “From the audiences who came out in droves to the artists who presented daring works and gave passionate performances, it’s been non-stop fun!”
Ms Croall said the inaugural Parade of Light digital projections on North Terrace cultural buildings on every night of the Fringe had helped draw more people into Adelaide for the festival season.
More than 100,000 people descended on North Terrace on Opening Night and more than 500,000 are estimated to have viewed the projections, which will make their final appearances from 8.30pm to midnight for the next three nights.
“With seven different projections telling a range of stories – from Kaurna family customs to a balloon dog trying out different occupations – the Parade of Light gave Fringe-goers more to see in between shows and provided a fabulous corridor of light between the East End and Riverbank precincts,” Ms Croall said.
The Parade of Light included the Australian premiere of Borealis, Swiss artist Dan Acher’s stunning recreation of the Northern Lights using artificial fog and lasers.
Other free public events at this year’s Fringe – supported by government and corporate partnerships – included Fringe in Rundle Mall and Tindo Utpurndee – Sunset Ceremony, while the GooseChase smartphone scavenger hunt attracted 1000 players and nearly 12,000 submissions.
The Fringe on Tour visited Kangaroo Island for the first time this year and returned to Adelaide Airport, Westfield shopping centres, Flinders University, Port Adelaide, Goolwa and Port Augusta (Desert Fringe). It will also reach Mount Gambier later this month and Whyalla over the Easter long weekend.
Adelaide Fringe also improved its accessibility in a number of ways for this year’s festival, providing AUSLAN interpretation for a selection of five shows and hiring Access2Arts guides to give audio tours for the Sunset Ceremony and Parade of Light.
Adelaide Fringe Board Chair David Minear said the festival’s continued success would not be possible without significant support from long-standing corporate and community partners and the hard work of Fringe staff and volunteers.
“Once again, the Fringe has been embraced whole-heartedly by the people of Adelaide and South Australia. Every year we are overwhelmed by the commitment and enthusiasm of our artists, venues and audiences. It is with their help that the Fringe has had another record-breaking season,” Mr Minear said.
Continued support from Principal Partner BankSA saw Fringe-goers take advantage of BankSA’s Take a Friend for Free campaign, with 1211 sold on the festival’s opening night. BankSA’s Support Act program has so far seen more than 600 tickets sold to shows by independent and emerging artists by subsidising ticket prices to the public.
BankSA Chief Executive Nick Reade said a key part of BankSA's support was aimed at ensuring the Fringe was accessible and affordable for more people.
"The Fringe delivers an amazing array of performances and attractions, in addition to a significant economic benefit for local businesses. That's why our sponsorship is focused maximising participation and the positive flow-on effects this has for our city and state,” Mr Reade said.
"This year we were also thrilled to be able to offer our most extensive range of Fringe benefits ever for BankSA customers, with tens of thousands taking up the opportunity to get more out of their Fringe experience."
The 2019 Adelaide Fringe will run from February 15 to March 17.
2018 FRINGE FACTS
- 2018 Adelaide Fringe featured 6000 artists, 1223 events and 442 venue spaces.
- The program featured 338 comedy shows, 260 music events, 132 theatre productions, 128 cabaret shows, 98 children’s events, 73 visual arts and design exhibitions, 64 special events, 36 circus/physical theatre events, 33 dance acts, 26 interactive events, 22 magic shows and 13 film and digital events
- Expected ticket sales of more than 700,000 – an increase of 7.6 per cent on last year’s record sales.
- This year’s Ambassadors were international drag performer Courtney Act and award-winning comedian Joel Creasey, who helped promote the Fringe to interstate and international visitors
- The Street Art Explosion program saw three new works commissioned for this year’s festival bringing the total number to 32. The Street Art Explosion Map has grown from 90 identified murals in 2016 to now feature 152 murals across Adelaide’s CBD and suburbs.
- Adelaide Fringe produced 15 special free events, including Tindo Utpurndee – Sunset Ceremony, Parade of Light, Street Art Explosion, GooseChase and the Fringe on Tour.
- The Fringe on World Tour saw Fringe artists perform for a global audience at Renewal SA’s Adelaide_Portal gold shipping container at the former Royal Adelaide Hospital site. They reached other Portals in the US and Gaza, and will broadcast to Erbil in northern Iraq tomorrow.
- More than 100 new venues took a chance on the Fringe for the first time, while many existing venues have grown and reinvented themselves in a number of ways. Shows popped up in all sorts of quirky places – from a shipping container to a car to an office.
- More than 100,000 people converged on North Terrace on Friday, February 16, for the Sunset Ceremony, Opening Night Street Party and Parade of Light projections.
- More than 200 festival directors and arts venue presenters from across the globe participated in Honey Pot, an arts marketplace where directors buy artists’ shows for their festivals.
- The Adelaide Fringe is the largest annual arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere and the second-largest Fringe in the world behind Edinburgh.
Header Image: Trentino Priori