Demand for First Adelaide Night Mayor Builds Steam
The need for a Night Mayor in Adelaide has increased as more people enter the CBD after dark than before the pandemic.
Adelaide outperformed other capital cities, according to a new study by the Tourism and Transport Forum, the peak industry group for the tourism, transport and aviation sectors.
Chief executive Margy Osmond attributed the city’s buoyant recovery to both live entertainment and major events.
“More people are keen to soak up Adelaide’s culture, events and flavours, as the weather warms up and lockdowns fade into memory,” Osmond said.
“This data shows how crucial our arts and events industries have been in recent months and they’ll continue to help our cities bounce back.”
For the study, DSpark analysed mobility data to survey the movements of eight million in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth CBDs.
The number visiting or working in Adelaide’s CBD through the week and weekends was 86% of pre-COVID levels, over Perth (85%), Brisbane (74%), Melbourne (71%) and Sydney (67%).
Weekend visitors reached 25,000 per hour, returning to 100% of pre-COVID levels, just behind Sydney’s 101%.
On weeknights, after 10 p.m., there were 35,000 per hour on average.
This meant more visitors to the CBD than before the pandemic, peaking at 112% of pre-COVID levels after midnight, behind Sydney at 116%.
Music SA CEO Christine Schloithe told TMN the TTF figures are reflected in “what we are seeing and hearing” around the city.
“Certainly arts, culture, festivals and live music are major drivers of night time activation and Adelaide is good at collaborating, creating a vibe around programmed activity and leveraging how businesses can contribute to and benefit from a density of people in the city,” Schloithe said.
The idea of a Night Mayor was first mooted by the City of Adelaide in June 2020, to chair an after-hours economic roundtable and champion issues in the industry.
Its 2019 figures showed its night economy generated $1.2 billion in revenue and employed 11,405 people in 840 core businesses.
A year later, the pandemic saw nighttime spending drop by 22%.
The issue was brought up more recently, on June 14, 2022, during a Council discussion on rebuilding Adelaide’s nighttime economy.
It voted to form an advisory committee which would then decide whether a position such as a Night Mayor needed to be established.
Schloithe said, “I am not sure where City of Adelaide is at regarding identifying a Night Mayor for Adelaide, but MusicSA will always champion and support any focus on the CBD that encourages more music, food, art and culture for residents, visitors and tourists across weeknights and weekends.
“Importantly, the City of Adelaide has supported important pandemic-response music industry initiatives and programs in the CBD in recent years and contributes to music activity in the city for artists, venues and audiences.
“I would expect that further Council support for increasing night time activation is a key strategic platform coming out of the approaching local government elections.”
An initiative by the City of Adelaide to reactivate the CDB was Friday Night Live, which funded venues of up to $6,000 to showcase live music.
It was nominated for “best late-night economy initiative” in November’s Music Cities Awards in Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S., at which Adelaide is also up for best global music city.
Other CDB programs included free music in communities each month, the unveiling of a laneway after Paul Kelly and a free music rehearsal space at the Town Hall.
Over summer, Christmas Festival offers $200,000 to musicians, performers and event organisers; live music throughout the CBD on New Year’s Eve; and East End Unleashed using public space for live music and outdoor dining.
There’ll also be a purpose-built mobile recording studio, shows by First Nations musicians (with the Carclew organisation), and the Endless Grooves Dream Boat-Party on The Popeye during Fringe 2023 with DJs and musicians.
Council’s fee-free music events on public land have been taken up by Laneway, Festival X, Sidebyside, Rufus Du Sol and Wildlands.
MusicSA – behind the Umbrella Festival, Scouted showcase and Bands on Track for the Adelaide 500 after-race concerts – will over the warmer months also present events.
“Adelaide is feeling the lack of national and international touring artists who bypass SA with regularity,” Schloithe added.
“So if we can concentrate on the popularity of events such as Harvest Rock and Handpicked, and continue to build on the number of people coming into the city, we can really raise the profile of Adelaide as Australia’s only UNESCO City of Music.”