Accento (Arts News)

Farewell to a record-breaking Adelaide Fringe Festival

Adelaide Fringe has broken its previous box office record with an impressive 825,000 tickets sold, a 17 per cent increase on last year – the biggest boost in recent years. A number of factors have contributed to the record-breaking ticket sales worth $19.4 million including diversity, accessibility, great weather, a rising number of visitors, and the introduction of e-ticketing.

Yabarra – Projection of Karl ‘Winda’ Telfer | photo by Jack Fenby

“The buzz around Adelaide has been absolutely electric and we are just blown away with what we’ve been able to achieve this year, from record-breaking ticket sales and improving accessibility to putting on one of the biggest celebrations of Indigenous culture that this city has ever seen.”

Heather Croall, Adelaide Fringe Director & CEO

Croall oversaw her fourth Fringe this year and the calibre of events in this year’s festival and the level of support from the general public particularly impressed her. “We’re so proud of this year’s program and the reaction from audiences. It’s been really inspiring to see so many artists pushing boundaries and presenting ground-breaking work that people who otherwise feel marginalised can relate to,” says Croall.

Of the staggering $19.4 million figure, smaller venues contributed to 50 per cent of ticket sales while the three major outdoor hubs (the Garden of Unearthly Delights, Gluttony and RCC Fringe) made up the remaining 50 per cent.

Garden of Unearthly Delights | photo by Tony Virgo

Adelaide’s arts industry is thriving following the removal of inside charges for tickets under $35 and the Fringe has halved the inside charge for all others, resulting in an amazing $17.5 million in box office settlements paid out to Fringe artists and venues. This has allowed audiences to directly support artists. Adelaide Fringe has furthered its accessibility initiatives, which this year included partnerships with Deaf Can:Do and the Royal Society for the Blind along with the appointment of a Diversity and Access Co-ordinator.

The festival continues to spread across the state and the 2019 Fringe on Tour saw Fringe performers pop up in IKEA Adelaide and Murray Bridge for the first time in addition to Port Adelaide, Rundle Mall, Adelaide Airport, Westfield shopping centres and as far away as Port Augusta (Desert Fringe).

“So many people own this wonderful success. Of course, it starts with our talented and hard-working artists, unique venues and the dedicated Fringe team. A close second are the people of South Australia who whole-heartedly embrace all that the Adelaide Fringe has to offer year after year. This is indeed ‘the people’s festival’. We are also blessed to have such strong corporate support and also from the State Government. Our success is also their success.”

– David Minear, Adelaide Fringe Board Chair

Continued support from Principal Partner BankSA saw Fringe-goers take advantage of BankSA’s Support Act program, which has so far seen more than 800 tickets sold to shows by independent and emerging artists by subsidising ticket prices to the public.

2020 will see Adelaide Fringe celebrate its 60th anniversary after first being held in 1960. Adelaide Fringe is calling on the public to share their favourite festival memories via an online survey (www.surveymonkey.com/r/adlfringe60).

Adelaide Fringe Festival will host the Fringe World Congress in 2020, for which directors and delegates from more than 100 Fringe-style arts festivals around the world would converge on Adelaide. The 2020 Adelaide Fringe will run from February 14 to March 15. For more information, visit adelaidefringe.com.au.

Adelaide Fringe has revealed the winners of the 2019 BankSA Fringe Awards during a ceremony at Plant 4 Bowden last night. To view the list of winners, please visit: https://adelaidefringe.com.au/2019-banksa-fringe-award-winners

10 Fun Fringe Facts

Adelaide’s East End during the Fringe | photo by Nathaniel Mason

• 2019 Adelaide Fringe featured more than 7000 artists, 1326 events and 517 venue spaces

• The program included 340 comedy shows, 276 music events, 156 theatre productions, 135 cabaret shows, 86 visual arts and design exhibitions, 77 children’s events, 75 special events, 52 circus/physical theatre events, 36 dance acts, 46 interactive events, 25 magic shows and 10 film and digital events

• Expected ticket sales of 825,000– an increase of 17 per cent on last year

• This year’s Ambassadors were award-winning comedian Judith Lucy, international cabaret star Hans and AFL legend turned visual artist Gavin Wanganeen

• The Street Art Explosion program saw two new works commissioned for this year’s festival bringing the total number to 34

• Adelaide Fringe produced 13 special free events, including Tindo Utpurndee – Sunset Ceremony, Yabarra: Gathering of Light, Street Art Explosion and the Fringe on Tour

• 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 hot air balloon and a boat to a swimming pool and a caravan park

• More than 50,000 people gathered along War Memorial Drive and the banks of the River Torrens near the University of Adelaide footbridge on Friday, February 15, for the Opening Night celebrations including 20,000 who attended Tindo Utpundee – Sunset Ceremony. More than 200,000 have viewed the Yabarra: Gathering of Light projections since Opening Night

• More than 240 festival directors and arts venue presenters from 25 countries 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