The economic impact study – compiled by Professor Barry Burgan on behalf of Economic Research Consultants – says the figure represents a 27.7 per cent increase in spending on 2017.
The study also found that the gross economic expenditure across the 11 festivals rose by 29.2 per cent to $345.9 million.
Both the Adelaide Festival and the Adelaide Fringe announced another record-breaking year in 2019, with the latter releasing figures this month that showed a 72 per cent rise in the number of interstate and international visitors attending Fringe events.
The Festivals Adelaide figures also take in results from WOMADelaide, SA’s History Festival, the South Australian Living Artists Festival (SALA), Adelaide Film Festival, Feast Festival, Cabaret Festival, OzAsia, Guitar Festival and the DreamBIG Children’s Festival.
Unveiled today alongside the economic impact study is a work commissioned by Festivals Adelaide and created by local artist Peter Drew, who is well-known for his thought-provoking posters such as the “Real Australians Say Welcome” and “Monga Khan” series.
“We asked him to observe all the festivals and consider what they mean to South Australia and then create a piece of work we can use alongside our economic information,” says Festivals Adelaide CEO Christie Anthoney.
The poster incorporates a Venn diagram with the words You, Me, Infinity above text that explains how festivals “break down the boundaries between tribes, between nations, between all people. To put it simply, we use festivals to celebrate and renew the love that binds us”.
The artwork will be pasted in places around the city, with 50 hand-signed and numbered posters being given to the festivals.
“He’s turned a Venn diagram into poetry,” Anthoney says.
“I love the fact he’s used this simple You Me Infinity haiku, in a sense, to show that the festivals satisfy something in us that is deeply human and enduring … he’s talking to our hearts and minds.”
Drew told InDaily he used a Venn diagram in the poster to try to convey the “absurdity of trying to quantify something as big as the value of festivals”.
“The value really can’t be quantified … festivals renew the feeling of actually living in the city.
“These days I think we need them more than ever because we’re living such separate lives and they bring people together.”
Festivals Adelaide has also announced plans to co-deliver a Bachelor of Creative Industries with a Major in Festivals Management through the University of South Australia’s new School of Creative Industries, with the aim of creating a pathway for students to build careers in festival management.