New measures to help reduce the financial risk of putting on an Adelaide Fringe show have been applauded by artists, with some already reporting increased bottom lines.
This year the Adelaide Fringe abolished inside charges for artists with tickets under $35 and halved inside charges for all others, thanks to $1 million of funding from the State Government. Inside charges are a proportional fee paid by artists to help cover the cost of Adelaide Fringe’s ticketing system.
Adelaide Fringe Director and CEO Heather Croall said the move came as a response to feedback from artists that a season in the Adelaide Fringe could be financially challenging for some.
“As a response, we set our sights on becoming the most affordable Fringe for artists, audiences and venues. We have been able to achieve that goal by removing the inside fees this year and for every year,” Ms Croall said.
“We are the first Fringe festival in the world to remove the inside fees and this will see box office settlements increase by about 10 per cent for artists.”
The move has been welcomed by artists, including comedian Alexis Dubus who two years ago called for changes after claiming it was too expensive to put on a show at Adelaide Fringe.
Dubus, who is presenting his show Marcel Lucont’s Whine List at this year’s Adelaide Fringe, said: “By their nature, Fringe festivals should accommodate small, independent producers as best they can and I’m delighted that steps have been made to make it easier for the likes of us to succeed here.”
“There’s already a great pressure on performers to bring back better shows each year and we need to know that we’ll be supported when we do. As long as artists and organisers keep a check on what makes Fringe work for as many people as possible, we’re heading in the right direction.”
The increased artist support was a “huge benefit” for artists, according to magician and mentalist Matt Tarrant who has been performing in the Adelaide Fringe since 2010.
“With the extra support from Adelaide Fringe and the State Government, artists look to gain between 10 to 20 per cent more in ticket revenue this year, which can be the difference between a profit and a loss,” Tarrant said.
“These changes also ensure the Adelaide Fringe is ahead of the game and will continue to not only attract the top-end international artists but also support young and up-and-coming performers.”
Meanwhile, Adelaide Comedy producer Craig Egan said he had never felt more supported by Adelaide Fringe than he had for this year’s festival.
“It can be a really hard slog especially for interstate and international acts, but Fringe has been doing an amazing job supporting artists, producers and venues in such a massive festival,” Mr Egan said.
“We have some of our acts doing brilliantly and others that are struggling pretty hard. This is not due to a lack of quality but how hard it is to get people to take a chance on something they have never seen before.”
Adelaide Fringe offers a range of artist support services, including Adelaide Fringe Artist Fund grants, the Honey Pot arts marketplace, publicity and marketing advice, visa and accommodation support, programming at Adelaide Fringe produced events and access to technological resources during the festival.
Cabaret performer Anya Anastasia, who received an Adelaide Fringe Artist Fund grant in 2017, said Adelaide Fringe is setting a benchmark for open-access festivals around the world with its commitment to artist support.
“In the past few years hugely positive changes have been made to create an environment for all artists and producers at the Adelaide Fringe to thrive, which makes Adelaide Fringe a forerunner and innovator in this international Fringe circuit,” Anastasia said.
“The removal of inside charges has made a huge different to my budget this year and not only lifts my bottom line but puts me in a position where I’m likely to get paid for my work for the month. My shows have always sold well but there’s also a huge team involved in bringing a show like this to life so the costs are high.”
Adelaide Fringe Chair David Minear said the organisation was committed to making the festival financially viable for artists.
“Artists are the very core of the Adelaide Fringe. What we have started this year demonstrates out commitment to that. We are proud of Adelaide Fringe as the biggest Fringe in Australia and we want to make the experience as rewarding as possible for all artists and venues,” Mr Minear said.
Adelaide Fringe ticket sales are currently up by 7 per cent compared to the same time last year.
The 2018 Adelaide Fringe runs until 18 March.
Head image credit Trentino Priori