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News July 4, 2022

Strong Ticket Sales for Winter Festivals Dark Mofo and Vivid

Strong Ticket Sales for Winter Festivals Dark Mofo and Vivid

At a time when no-shows and cancellations are keeping major festivals at 70 to 80% capacity, two events generated better-than-expected ticket sales.

Dark Mofo’s 14-day Hobart run in June was 94% of pre-COVID heights, while Vivid Sydney set a new attendance record. Both festivals are tourism cash bonanzas.

Dark Mofo had 45 ticketed performances and offered free events and exhibitions.

Living up to its 2022 theme of “resurrection,” nearly 72,000 tickets were sold with 300,000 counted at venues – the figure was 320,000 in 2019 — generating around $3.5 million.

Of these, 65% of ticket buyers were from outside Tasmania.

Dark Mofo marketing and business director Drew Berridge said the “bold decision” to open the festival with teen rapper The Kid Laroi at MyState Bank Arena set a new milestone in Dark Mofo’s history books with a crowd of 5,200.

It was its “single most successful” ticketed event to date.

Large crowds also turned for music acts Spiritualized, Briggs, Emma & The Pushbacks, Nils Frahm and Kim Gordon.

Other signature events also proved successful.

Reclamation Walk saw 5,000 march with the First Nations community through the city, from 3,000. The Winter Feast also welcomed close to 23,000 people through its doors on its final night.

The Nude Solstice Swim, to welcome the sun back after the longest night of the year, had 2,000 brave the freezing waters of the Derwent.

More than $130,600 was raised for Voices for Children, a charity supporting Ukrainian children and families affected by the Russian invasion.

Dark Mofo creative director Leigh Carmichael wryly noted the festival had uncertainty around COVID-related restrictions during planning, venue shortages, staffing hurdles, and program changes when some artists became ill.

“Somehow we managed to navigate all that and it’s a relief that the festival was able to be presented in full again,” he said.

Image of Dark Mofo in 2018

Madeleine Ogilvie, minister for Small Business, spelled out its tourism draw.

Late last year the Tasmanian government extended its funding by another three years, worth $7.5 million as part of its $21.5 million fund to secure events.

Every dollar spent in the tourism industry resulted in an additional 84 cents being spent elsewhere in the wider economy, with visitors spending more time on the island.

Meantime, the NSW government’s light, music and ideas Vivid Sydney 2022 (May 26 to June 17) set a new attendance record, according to figures out last week.

Crowds numbered 2.58 million, a 7.5% rise from 2019 when it reached a new high of 2.4 million and $170 million injected into the state economy.

It had the largest opening weekend in the event’s history with 435,000 patrons, up 8% on 2019.

Within two weeks, crowd numbers rose to 1.2 million. One Saturday had over 222,000, the second-largest audience in its history.

Restaurants on the Vivid Sydney footprint recorded more than 300,000 patrons in its first weeks, many remaining at full capacity after Vivid lights were turned off at 11 p.m.

Tourism minister Stuart Ayres said Vivid Sydney transformed the city and had “a huge impact” on the recovery of its visitor economy and creative industries.

“[Vivid] showcased our global city to the world and reinforces our position as the events capital of the Asia Pacific,” he said. “It is a blockbuster event and a key supporter of the state’s visitor economy.”

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