Delivering arts experiences unlike anything else on offer in Western Australia has proved hugely valuable to the State, with non-for-profit registered arts charity, ARTRAGE, delivering a massive $137 million economic impact, as revealed in the organisation’s 2022/2023 Impact Report.
The cultural, social and economic value of ARTRAGE is achieved through its standout events, including FRINGE WORLD, with the 2023 Festival seeing audience and artist participation from interstate and overseas people returning to pre-COVID levels. Over 2,500 artists attracted more than 560,000 free and ticketed attendance, as FRINGE WORLD turned toward pre-2020 levels of delight. Challenges were experienced with attracting audiences mid-week due to the increased prevalence of work-from-home flexibility, while impacts were felt in relation to cost inflation hurting the organisation’s ability retain a surplus, and impacting artists due to rising accommodation and food prices. FRINGE WORLD 2024 addresses these challenges with a program to delight and entertain audiences with a return to the outrageous golden age of FRINGE next year.
ARTRAGE Interim CEO Anthony Robinson said that the organisation remained resilient despite the many challenges, and the Impact Report speaks to the volume of benefit that ARTRAGE delivers to the WA artists, residents, communities and the economy.
Dr Robinson said “ARTRAGE helped artists and venues to earn more than $6.3 million during FRINGE WORLD alone; and an additional $200,000 through other ARTRAGE projects such as special events at Rooftop Movies. The organisation is the largest live performance arts organisation in the state, and a huge employer directly supporting a team of 929 people and stimulating a further 343 jobs through the associated economic activity.”
Economic analysis by Culture Counts assessed that the Festival delivered $48 million in direct economic impact and that for every $1 invested by the WA state government into ARTRAGE, $26 was stimulated and spent in the local economy.
The second edition of FRINGE Sunday Funday, supported by Lotterywest, surpassed
the success of the previous year. This large-scale, family-friendly, community event transformed Northbridge into a hub of Fringe entertainment, welcoming and delighting more than 22,000 people, which is double the result from 2022.
FRINGE WORLD Program Manager Julia Martini said “We look forward to getting audiences out in The Pleasure Garden and beyond next summer, with a program and atmosphere designed to surprise and delight Perth once again. We aim to provide a Festival where artists and venues can welcome Perth’s biggest audiences, and where they can earn over $10 million once more.”
Key results from the 2022/23 Impact Report:
- Ranking: ARTRAGE proudly ranks among the top 10 arts organisations in WA, seventh in total revenue, we are number one in earned revenue, and tenth in total government support.
- Government Support: ARTRAGE total state government support equates to $3 per attendee, the next lowest arts organisation receives more than $30 per attendee from the state government, while support tops out at over $100 per attendee.
- Economic: Total direct economic impact of ARTRAGE projects over the past 12 months was $48.3 million with a multiplied economic impact of $137 million.
- FRINGE WORLD Festival 2023: featured 550 events, 115 venues, 2,500+ artists, 560,000+ attendances at free and ticketed events and $6.3 million was paid to participating artists and venues from ticket sales.
- Tourism: FRINGE WORLD audience and artist participation from interstate and overseas people returned to pre-COVID levels, with 49% of artists originating either interstate or overseas. The Festival recorded 48,732 bed nights from the visitors, which is five times more than the year prior.
- Audience: The Festival has untapped audience growth potential with 74% of accounts on the FRINGE WORLD website coming from new customers, 96% of audiences planning to attend FRINGE WORLD again in 2024. Additionally, average tickets sold for shows is currently a healthy 49% with significant stock available for purchase by new customers. Ticket purchasers come from every residential postcode in the Perth metropolitan area.
- Cultural Sector: The Festival has a positive flow-on impact for the cultural sector with 90% of audiences likely to take greater risks and see less well-known arts events in the future and 84% are more likely to attend more arts events in the future because of their visit to FRINGE WORLD.
- Artists: 82% of artists were satisfied with their experience at FRINGE WORLD and 67% agree that participating is important to the development of their craft.
- Businesses: 72% of surveyed businesses in Northbridge and Perth CBD think that FRINGE WORLD has a significant positive impact on their business and 77% indicated their level of trading increased during FRINGE WORLD.
- Employment: The ARTRAGE workforce that delivered the Festival’s umbrella activities and presented the ARTRAGE Fringe Hubs consisted of 664 staff and contractors, with 261 volunteers. Of the 115 independent venues in the 2023 Festival, they employed 2 to 110 people per venue, 44% of independent venues employed additional staff during the period of FRINGE WORLD Festival to cover the increased level of trading.