Operating in a Covid World: Adelaide Fringe Delivers 2021 Impact Results


1 Jul 2021



Written By Staff Writer



Adelaide Fringe Festival has announced its astounding economic impact results. The festival delivered a massive $56.39 million in gross economic impact to the South Australian economy benefiting many organisers, performers, technicians and contractors in the Adelaide events industry.

Despite the capacity restrictions and a decrease in the number of shows from international and interstate border closures due to Australia’s ongoing Covid response, Fringe attracted 2.8 million attendances across the month. This attendance rate secured its ongoing status as the biggest festival in the southern hemisphere. 

The unique festival sold a total of 632,667 tickets for a box office revenue of $16.4 million. Adelaide Fringe 2021 featured 5,085 artists across 905 events, 318 venues, 394 performance spaces and 84 open air events from 19 February to 21 March 2021.

“Operating Fringe in a Covid World”, the festival box offices were successfully made cashless, COVD flexible bookings and refunds were introduced to increase consumer confidence, and a COVID safe messaging campaign was rolled out, including providing access to hand sanitiser at all sites. 88.3% of tickets were sold as e-tickets and 7.2% of events offered a ‘Watch from Home’ option, with audiences from 24 countries taking up the opportunity to engage from home.

Adelaide Fringe Director and CEO Heather Croall is thrilled that the festival was able to proceed with support from the State and Federal Governments.

“Fringe 2021 brought the city and state to life with people not only enjoying the shows but also supporting local businesses,” Croall said. “Adelaide Fringe is always a collaboration between artists, venues, sponsors and audiences and this year we also worked closely with SA Health to deliver the magical month of Fringe.”

“This year, we delivered $33 million in total social benefit to South Australians and 4,431 peak direct and indirect jobs were created as a result of Adelaide Fringe 2021,” she said.

Adelaide Fringe also delivered over $750,000 in grants to artists and venues this year, with 29 per cent of grants distributed to First Nations recipients.

Building economic activity is a focus for BankSA, a Principal Partner of Adelaide Fringe for 16 years. BankSA State General Manager Consumer Ben Owen said the economic benefits of the festival were well-received by those within the events industry.

“Our partnership again focused on increasing accessibility and affordability to performances,” Owen said. “Through our 25 per cent off ticket price offer, BankSA supported over $500,000 worth of tickets for our cardholders, and by subsiding ticket prices to shows by emerging artists, we contributed $24,000 at a time when they needed it most.”

With 97 per cent of the audience reporting the festival positively impacted their mental health, Croall has already started looking to the future.

“There are so many artists who are already looking forward to next year and planning is already well underway,” Croall said.

Adelaide Fringe 2022 is scheduled to run from 18 February through to 20 March.

BankSA Fringe Corner 2021. Photo: Chloe Elizabeth, 2021


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