The cultural, social and economic impact that the arts organisation ARTRAGE has delivered to Western Australia is revealed in its 2020/21 Impact Report.
The non-for-profit registered charity recorded more than 500,000 attendances across its programs that include FRINGE WORLD Festival, Rooftop Movies and Girls School Cinema.
ARTRAGE CEO Sharon Burgess said that she was proud of the organisation’s achievements, particularly given that FRINGE WORLD Festival was the first major fringe festival in the world to be presented post COVID-19.
“FRINGE WORLD was a celebration of our homegrown WA artists (94% of all artists) and I’m pleased that we were able to extend a range of new initiatives to provide further support for our artists with overall box office payments to artists and arts companies topping $5.7 million,” Ms Burgess said.
The last 12 months have been significantly challenging for WA artists and ARTRAGE, with the organisation recording an income loss and subsequent net deficit of $1.08 Million from the 60,000 tickets that were refunded from the February lockdown during the 2021 FRINGE WORLD Festival. Despite the challenges, the Impact Report reveals positive audience and artist sentiment in addition to the success of new initiatives that were delivered, such as a partnership with Lifeline and environmental sustainability programs.
Ms Burgess added that although the organisation had achieved positive outcomes in the last 12 months there were still significant improvement targets on the horizon.
“ARTRAGE is working towards a 3-5 year plan that will deliver more value to FRINGE WORLD artists and reach more diversity of audiences. We are in discussion with the state government about the support we need so that we can deliver further value to the state.”
During the Festival, FRINGE WORLD directed patrons to donate to the Fringe Fund to support artists impacted by the February lockdown. Total funds raised was $91,248.81 consisting of patron donations, significant donations from the Ungar Family Foundation, Festival partner Woodside through an employee matched funding initiative, and Gage Roads Brew Co. who topped up the Fringe Fund through sales from Hello Sunshine Cider. 100% of these funds has gone directly to artists and venues who lost ticket sales.
Economic analysis by Culture Counts assessed that for every $1 invested by the WA state government into FRINGE WORLD, $23 was stimulated and spent in the local economy with 257 FTE jobs being created through this activity.
To put the Festival’s ability to stimulate job creation into perspective, the City Link deal is slated to deliver approx. 10,000 jobs from $1.5b investment at a cost of about $150,000 per job. FRINGE WORLD is by comparison more cost-effective with the $849,533 funding of FRINGE WORLD 2021 costing $3,036 per job stimulated and the Festival has the potential to deliver continued results to Western Australia that reflect solid ROI, greater employment, tourism and other indirect financial outcomes if it achieves increased state government support.
FRINGE WORLD’s attendance is remarkable when compared with another Western Australian powerhouse, the West Coast Eagles. The WCE has 100,000 members and an annual revenue of around $100 million. This is compared with the FRINGE WORLD 2021 unique attendees of 53,000 and ARTRAGE’s annual turnover in 2020/21 of $7.8 million, demonstrating that the Festival is an activity that punches above its weight.
Key FRINGE WORLD Festival 2021 results from the Impact Report:
- FRINGE WORLD Festival 2021 featured 559 events, 130 venues, 2,470 artists, 226,800 attendance at ticketed events and $5.9 million spent at the box office.
- Total direct economic impact of FRINGE WORLD 2021 was $19.9 Million.
- The Festival’s audience demographics are broad with 14% of people aged 18-29, 24% aged 30-41, 26% aged 42-53 and 37% aged 54 and over. 9% of the audience identify with an ethnic or cultural group, 9% went to the Festival accompanied with a teenager and 12% with a primary school aged child or younger.
- The Festival has untapped audience growth potential with 48% of accounts on the FRINGE WORLD website coming from new customers, 96% of audiences planning to attend FRINGE WORLD again in 2022 and there were 801,000 users to the Festival website and app.
- 84% of artists are satisfied with the Festival and 74% would recommend FRINGE WORLD to other artists.
- 80% of businesses think that FRINGE WOLRD brings new people into Northbridge which has long-term benefits for their business, 74% of audiences ate at a restaurant before/after attending an event and 66% had a drink at a bar/nightclub/café.
Read the full Impact Report below.