Advocacy in Action - February Festival Frenzy


Every year during the buzzing summer month of February, Perth and the whole of Western Australia is embraced by two major festivals that collide together, The Perth Festival and The FRINGE WORLD Festival. The festivals showcase a diverse range of local and international arts and cultural performances, throughout the city and in the regions. 2018 was a major success for both festivals as they attracted a range of new audiences, while still retaining their regular festival goers.

By occupying and activating open spaces and non-traditional spaces, as well as the cultural venues we know and love, the festivals create a variety of venues where artists are able to perform and showcase their talent. The 2018 Perth Festival presented a number of acts including performances at Chevron Gardens, Museum of Water, Siren Song, Writers Week, and the Lotterywest Films. FRINGE WORLD showcased a different range of acts including comedy, circus, theatre, visual arts, music, musicals, dance, and cabaret.

The Perth Festival and FRINGE WORLD help put Perth on the map while creating a reputation that allows the Perth community to be proud of the special place we live in. Perth’s Fringe Festival has become so popular it’s now the third largest in the world, after Adelaide and Edinburgh. FRINGE WORLD’s 2018 Impact Report announced that 91% of fringe goers believe that FRINGE WORLD allows them to attend high quality performances they wouldn’t otherwise experience. The findings demonstrate that patrons and stakeholders believe that Perth Festival plays an important role in the cultural life of WA while also having something to say about today’s world.

By locating festival events all over Perth and WA and incorporating culturally diverse acts and performances, a diverse range of demographics are encouraged to attend and participate. The 2018 Perth Festival attracted a new audience of millennials, whilst FRINGE WORLD 2018 attracted a high number of young families. 2018 also saw audience numbers grow in regional areas of WA, FRINGE WORLD embraced an independent program in Geraldton called ‘Funtavia’, which hosted touring events. The festivals greater community engagement demonstrated the pride and development of diversity and inclusivity in multicultural arts and activities in Perth and WA.

As a result of the festivals, Perth City is becoming an entertainment precinct by creating a higher demand for bars, pubs, clubs, and restaurants located around Perth. Of the people surveyed, 94% think FRINGE WORLD is helping to make Northbridge and Perth City a vibrant place.

The Perth Festival created approximately 562 jobs, which reflects the positive effect the festivals have on the local and WA economy. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that for every $1 million of value added to the economy as a result of culture related spending, an additional 22 jobs were created. The economic benefits of the Festival are a healthy predictor about the future prosperity for arts and culture in Western Australia.

The Committee believes that a vibrant arts and cultural scene is vital to Perth's liveability. The launch of A Cultural Compact for Perth in 2008challenged government, the arts sector and community to work together to embed art and culture into our everyday lives. With the success of the 2018 Perth Festival and FRINGE WORLD providing the building blocks for growth in the upcoming 2019 summer festivals, we are well on the way to creating a region that celebrates vibrancy and diversity in arts and culture in our everyday lives.

This article was written by intern Keely Duffield. 

Other articles from Insight, July 2018 (view email newsletter):