Ms Croall says comedians have become a big part of the Adelaide Fringe but its original spirit has not changed. (ABC News: Malcolm Sutton)
The Adelaide Fringe Festival has doubled its value to South Australia’s economy over the past six years, according to the event’s director.
Heather Croall said ticket sales, attendances, total economic expenditure and visitor spend related to the festival had almost all doubled since 2011.
She added that the 2017 festival total expenditure was a “staggering” $81.4 million, an increase of 5 per cent compared with 2016 and 69 per cent compared with five years ago.
“For the last few years we’ve had a growth of around 9 per cent or 10 per cent every year, and … we would have been happy if this year had just been what it was in ,” Ms Croall said.
“What we had last year was so amazing [that] we sort of went into the 2017 Fringe thinking, ‘well, maybe it’s not going to grow’… so we were just over the moon at the numbers.
“People just came out every single night.”
There were 80,853 interstate and international visitor bed stays and an estimated 2.52 million attendances in total, while more than 350 shows sold 70 per cent or more of their tickets.
The figures were based on FringeTIX sales information along with a survey of festival-goers, artists and producers and generated by Economic Research Consultants.
More than 650,000 tickets were sold at the 2017 festival. (Supplied: Andre Castellucci via The Garden)
Fringe spirit to remain
Concerns have been raised in the past that the Adelaide Fringe Festival could become “too big” and “swamped by comedians”.
But Ms Croall said she did not believe the event was at any risk of losing its charm, or its “fringe” status.
“The Fringe will always still have the spirit of the Fringe, regardless of how big it becomes,” she said.
“This year we sold more than 650,000 tickets and around 40 per cent of those were in the smaller venues, not in the big parkland hubs.
“The beauty of the Fringe is that because it’s open access, the Fringe happens everywhere — we do not have any limit on who’s allowed to be in the [festival].
“The Edinburgh Fringe has 3,000 shows in it and it is still that wonderful, magical festival that you go to and explore down every nook and cranny.”
Venue registrations for the 2018 Adelaide Fringe Festival open later this month.