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News March 14, 2016

Adelaide festivals draw massive crowds

Adelaide festivals draw massive crowds

Image:The A Fleur de Peau at the Adelaide Festival of Arts

Three Adelaide festivals this month have proven to be huge crowd pullers as part of the city’s Mad March of events.

The Adelaide Festival of the Arts, which winds up today, made $2.8 million at the box office over 18 days from 27 ticketed events. It hit its target even before its opening. (The figures do not include WOMADelaide).

The festival was the fourth and final one for Artistic Director David Sefton. Its 136 performances across 34 events included 20 Australian premieres, 20 Adelaide exclusives and seven world premieres. 500 performers came from 14 countries.

Chief Executive Karen Bryant said, “From the minute we launched it was clear the 2016 program was hitting the mark. Previous trends of late ticket buying were reversed with people flocking to the box office early for the world-class Australian exclusives we had on offer. We saw some of the fastest moving shows ever, record book sales at Writers Week and some of the highest critical acclaim nationally of recent years. It has been a fabulous festival.”

The strongest-selling shows were a mix of Australian and international works. The opening Groupe F’s light and fire spectacle À Fleur de Peau played to a sold out 26,000 at Adelaide Oval. The world premiere of Slingsby Theatre’s The Young King had to add 12 extra shows.

The critically acclaimed experimental electronic Unsound Adelaide, including a collaboration by Grammy-winning Icelandic composer Johann Johannsson and Adelaide’s Zephyr Quartet, was a sell-out. Godspeed You! Black Emperor, who provided the score for Canada’s 75-minute The Holy Body Tattoo, hit capacity for their show at Thebarton Theatre.

Final figures for WOMADelaide, celebrating its 20th year between March 11 to 14, are not available yet. But early indications are it could well be the largest yet. The opening Friday night – with The Cat Empire, Violent Femmes and Angelique Kidjo with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra – had 20,000 attendees, making it the festival’s biggest ever Friday.

Strong attendance over Saturday and Sunday at Botanic Park, helped by good weather, indicated it was on track to smash last year’s 95,000 record attendance.

Adelaide Fringe shifted 600,000 tickets over its month, up 12% from last year. It staged 1,100 shows over 430 venues in the first year for Director Heather Croall.


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