A new report has confirmed Perth Festival’s significant positive impact on Western Australia’s social, cultural and economic life.
The report by Perth-based international performance analysts Culture Counts found there were 460,659 attendances (up 18 per cent from 389,000 last year) for Artistic Director Wendy Martin’s 2018 Festival program acclaimed for its diversity, excellence and value to the community.
Founded in 1953 by The University of Western Australia, Perth Festival is the longest running international arts festival in Australia and Western Australia’s premier cultural event.
New audiences increased by 12 per cent at a Festival that included 270 free and paid events featuring 651 WA artists and 503 visiting international and Australian artists. The average ticket price was $29.38.
Some 96 per cent of survey respondents said Perth Festival was important to our State’s cultural life and 94 per cent said it delivered high-quality cultural experiences to the people of Western Australia.
Beyond the packed theatres, the Festival made a big impact with its education and arts sector development initiatives in community halls, workshops and schools across the State. More than 3000 Western Australians developed their creative skills through the Festival Connect program and more than 4700 students took part in the Education Program.
Festival audiences spent $4.3 million at the box office and an additional $9.9 million on meals, drinks, accommodation and other associated activities. Combined with the impact of the Festival’s own expenditure, the flow-on economic impact on the State was $25.6 million.
About $8.2 million of Festival expenditure went to WA artists, suppliers and workers, helping to create 562 full-time equivalent jobs.
The 6751 visitors to Perth from intrastate, interstate and overseas comprised 7 per cent of Festival audiences. They stayed a total of 26,501 nights and spent $1.052 million on accommodation alone.
Released as Australia’s longest-running curated arts festival marks its 65th anniversary this year, the report also found:
*98 per cent of people believe the State Government should invest in the local arts and cultural sector;
*96 per cent of Festival Connect participants wanted to take part in the arts sector development initiative again next year;
*86 per cent of artists said the Festival had opened new opportunities for them;
*95 per cent of teachers said the Festival gave their students incomparable arts education experiences.
“We are thrilled with this confirmation that our city hosts one of the greatest curated arts festivals in the world, attracting tourists and the best international artists to Perth, fostering Western Australian talent and developing our capacity for innovation,” Perth Festival Executive Director Nathan Bennett said.
“Perth Festival enhances our community’s vitality, social health, tourism appeal, economic growth and international reputation,” Mr Bennett said.
“This report represents the biggest and most significant dataset ever captured by the Festival and we will use it as a new baseline by which we can measure future success in our mission to enrich life through art in Western Australia.”
The Culture Counts report combined ticketing data with wider expenditure analysis and a survey of more than 4000 people.
The 2019 Perth Festival will run from 8 February to 3 March and the full program will be launched in November.
Download the report and images here