Nathan Bennett says the Culture Counts report represents the biggest and most significant dataset ever captured by the festival. Photo: Ryan Ammon

Festival measures impact with Culture Counts

Monday, 11 June, 2018 - 14:35

An analysis of Perth Festival undertaken by local firm Culture Counts has found near-universal support for the event's impact on, and importance for, Western Australia's cultural scene.

In all, 96 per cent of respondents to the Culture Counts survey considered the festival played an important cultural role for the state.

Attendances increased by 18 per cent to about 461,000 for this year’s festival, with 200,000 attendances stemming from its street event Siren Song, which broadcast female lyrical voices at dawn and dusk along St Georges Terrace for the first week of the festival.

Nat Randall’s 24-hour live theatre performance, The Second Woman, was another highlight with more than 900 people having queued for the experience.  

New audiences were found to have increased by 12 per cent for the festival overall, while 6,751 visitors to Perth from intrastate, interstate and overseas comprised 7 per cent of the its audiences.

Box office revenue totalled at $4.3 million, with the average ticket price being about $29.

An additional $9.9 million was spent by festival goers on meals, drinks, accommodation and other associated activities, bringing the flow-on economic impact within the state to $25.6 million.

Culture Counts combined ticketing data with wider expenditure analysis and a survey of more than 4,000 people to arrive at its reported results.

It also found the vast majority of respondents believed: the state government should invest in the local arts and culture sector; the festival opened up new opportunities for them; and teachers said it gave their students incomparable arts education experiences.

Overall, 92 per cent of survey respondents were reported to feel positively about the festival, arriving at a positive Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 33 (an NPS of above zero is positive and an NPS of 30+ very good).

Perth Festival executive director Nathan Bennett said he was thrilled with the confirmation that Perth city hosted such a high-quality curated arts festival, which attracted tourists and international artists to Perth and fostered local talent.

Perth Festival enhances our community’s vitality, social health, tourism appeal, economic growth and international reputation,” he said.

“The report represents the biggest and most significant dataset ever captured by the festival and we will use it as a baseline by which we can measure future success in our mission to enrich life through art in WA.”

The report broke up the festival into three segments, being its Performance and Free Program, Writers Week, and Lotterywest Films.

It found Lotterywest Films achieved the highest overall experience at 91 per cent, with the Writers Week falling behind at 70 per cent despite leading in terms of authenticity and social impact.

The contemporary dance program was the festival’s most diverse to date and ticketed attendance in 2018 exceeded the previous year by 45 per cent.

Culture Counts found the festival’s audience was predominately female, highly educated, and the average age was 51, with a strong representation from audiences aged 50 plus.

While students comprised only 5 per cent of the festival’s audiences, Chevron Gardens was popular among younger attendees and over a quarter of its audience members were new to Perth Festival, indicating its potential to grow the audience and attract new demographics.

Overall, the majority of survey respondent’s reported the festival was significant to Perth and showcased the city’s artistic and cultural depth.

Other local arts organisations partnering with Culture Counts include Fremantle Arts Centre, Barking Gecko Theatre Company, Spare Parts Puppet Theatre and Black Swan State Theatre Company.