Adelaide Festival releases booming headline figures

An extra $2.3 million will be allocated to the arts and culture festival after it contributed $57.6 million to the state economy this year.

Aug 02, 2023, updated Aug 03, 2023
Two screens project New York City in motion in the stage production of 'A Little Life' which was presented at Adelaide Festival 2023. Photo: Adam Forte, Daylight Breaks

Two screens project New York City in motion in the stage production of 'A Little Life' which was presented at Adelaide Festival 2023. Photo: Adam Forte, Daylight Breaks

New data commissioned by Adelaide Festival shows the event contributed nearly $60 million to the state economy in 2023.

Gross expenditure of $57.6 million was up by nearly $6 million on last year. Visitor bed nights rose by 2608 to 105,943, while the average visitor spend was up 47 per cent to $4676.

The figures have led the state government to invest an additional $2.3 million into Adelaide Festival over the next three years, enabling it to attract more international events and performances.

The latest iteration of the Adelaide Festival hosted 52 events including a theatre production of Hanya Yanagihara’s novel A Little Life, singer-songwriter Lorde’s performance at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre and an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s gothic classic Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

The news follows an announcement in June from the State Government detailing a boom in Mad March visitor numbers and accommodation bookings, with visitor expenditure reaching $906 million this year – up one-third on March 2019. Those numbers included the contribution of the Adelaide Festival and Fringe Festival.

The latest report, commissioned by Adelaide Festival and completed by Economic Research Consultants, noted young audiences engaged strongly with the program. In 2023, 5114 tickets were sold to 75 schools from South Australia and interstate.

Additionally, large audiences were attracted to the opening week of exclusive Adelaide-only events, with 40 per cent of ticketholders travelling to the South Australian capital from interstate and overseas.

Adelaide Festival artistic director Ruth Mackenzie said the 2023 edition of the festival was a “great success”.

“Adelaide Festival’s ability to foster connections between audiences, communities and the world’s most extraordinary performers, writers and artists plays a crucial role in its cultural significance as well as its economic influence,” she said.

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“Each March these collective experiences continue to attract visitors from all over Australia and further afield, joining the 900 artists from 18 countries who make up Australia’s premier arts festival.”

Festival chair Judy Potter welcomed the additional funds from the State Government.

“The support plays a significant role in delivering a successful and impactful Festival, driving positive economic outcomes and fostering cultural enrichment and growth,” she said.

“With additional funding from the South Australian Government over the next three years, the Festival is set to thrive and make vibrant contributions to our region’s artistic tapestry.”

The SA Premier was upbeat too, with Peter Malinauskas saying he was “delighted to witness the incredible impact of Adelaide Festival on our state’s economy”.

“These figures unequivocally demonstrate the festival not only delivers significant value but also reinforces its pivotal role in our cultural landscape,” he said.

“Being the premier international arts festival in Australia, Adelaide Festival continues to shine on the global stage.”

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