08/12/2021 - 12:03

COVID-19, sponsorship loss hits Artrage bottom line

08/12/2021 - 12:03

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Artrage took a $10 million hit to its revenue in the 2021 financial year, due to reduced box office and drinks sales, as well as a 50 per cent decrease in sponsorship.

COVID-19, sponsorship loss hits Artrage bottom line
Fringe World Festival will start on January 14 next year. Photo: Dan Grant

Fringe World Festival’s parent company Artrage took a $10 million hit to its revenue in the 2021 financial year, due to reduced box office and drinks sales, as well as a 50 per cent decrease in sponsorship.

Total revenue decreased from $24.2 million to $14.4 million between 2020 to 2021.

Money earned at the box office decreased from $14.8 million in 2020 to $8.5 million and venue revenue was down from $3.1 million to $1.7 million.

Fringe World Festival had a smaller program in 2021 due to Western Australia’s hard border closure.

The program featured about 474 events, 248 less than the 722 on show in 2020.  

The 2021 event was also interrupted by a snap COVID-19 lockdown from January 31 to February 5. Reduced capacity restrictions remained in place until February 14.

According to Artrage’s 2021 impact report, the lockdown caused 85 of the 474 events at Fringe World Festival to be cancelled, leaving 70,238 tickets to be refunded.

Spending on marketing and staff decreased proportionately to match the reduced size of the festival.

Staffing expenditure was $9.9 million down from $16.3 million in 2020 and marketing spend decreased from $3.4 million to $1.3 million.

Interestingly, sponsorship income halved from $4 million in 2020 to $1.9 million in the 2021 financial year.

According to an Artrage spokesperson, sponsorship income decreased due to a large drop in in-kind support from $3 million in 2020 to $1 million in 2021.

Earlier this year, Woodside Petroleum partnered with Artrage to enable the not for profit to build a sustainable philanthropy program. 

Woodside previously directly supported the festival but switched to funding Artrage’s philanthropy program after artists protested the partnership.  

The annual report was released as the festival gears up for its 2022 event, which will run from January 14 to February 13, 2022.

About 436 shows have been locked in for the event.

The festival has indicated more shows could be added to the program, depending on when WA’s hard border lifts.

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