Adelaide Fringe smashes national box office records with 1 million tickets sold

Adelaide Fringe smashes national box office records with 1 million tickets sold

Laser Kiwi - Rise of the Olive. Photo: Nick Robertson, 2023 (via Adelaide Fringe)

Though the sun set yesterday on yet another edition of music, comedy and arts festival Adelaide Fringe, organisers have 1 million reasons to be smiling today after the festival revealed the 2023 iteration made Australian history.

The Adelaide Fringe announced today that 1 million tickets were sold to events during the four-week festival that finished on Sunday 19 March - the first ever festival in Australia to do so.

The 1-million mark was crossed at 10.01pm last night according to organisers, with 1,000,916 tickets sold in total to punters across 1,280 different shows.

This translates to a total box office value of $25.17 million, resulting in $23.9 million paid out in box office to artists and venues across the Fringe.

Organisers also boast that more than 3 million people attended the Fringe this year, triple that of tickets sold thanks to the many free events, installations, and public gathering spaces like the Garden of Unearthly Delights, Gluttony and more.

“We are thrilled to have had the season we’ve just witnessed, selling one million tickets in a national first at any festival is an accolade that South Australians can proudly claim,” Adelaide Fringe director and CEO Heather Croall said.

“I’d like to thank the Adelaide Fringe team who have worked tirelessly this season to make Fringe happen.

“I must also extend a massive thanks to our generous partners, our incredible volunteers and every single person who attended Fringe and made it the record-breaking season it was.”

Though data on the broader economic impact of Adelaide Fringe on the local economy is yet to be released, the South Australian state government announced last week that an estimated $128 million was spent in the state’s visitor economy over the three-day March long weekend alone.

This was thanks to ‘unprecedented’ demand for sold-out world music festival WOMADelaide (an event run by Adelaide Festival), the Adelaide Fringe, and Ed Sheeran’s blockbuster appearance at the Adelaide Oval.

Further, over that same long weekend, Adelaide accommodation was at an average of 90 per cent occupancy.

According to the Fringe, $40,000 was raised for the Fringe Foundation during its first ever ‘Donation Day’, with the funds to go toward helping artists to present their work and to buy tickets for communities who experience disadvantage.

In addition, more than 200 grants were given out to Fringe artists and venues in 2023 to the value of almost $1 million.

"South Australia has proven that we are one of the world's greatest festival cities,” South Australia’s Minister for Arts Andrea Michaels said.

“The Adelaide Fringe is iconic and the second largest arts festival in the world and now, for it to become the first Australian festival to ever sell one million tickets, well and truly cements our reputation as the arts capital of Australia."

"This is an incredible accolade for our state as well as for the Adelaide Fringe and I congratulate Heather and her team as well as all of the artists for smashing their box office record."

According to an impact report for the 2022 edition of the festival, the event generated $74.9 million in total expenditure and brought $50.1 million of new money into the state.

In 2022, box office revenue was $19.7 million from 727,567 tickets sold. More than 32,000 tourists attended the 2022 Adelaide Fringe and spent $2,258 on average. 

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