31/05/2022 - 18:30

Pandemic pain lingers for festival

31/05/2022 - 18:30

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Perth Festival’s box office sales increased slightly from the 2021 iteration, but total attendance was heavily disrupted by cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pandemic pain lingers for festival
The musical Panawathi Girl was part of the festival in 2022. Photo: Dana Weeks

Perth Festival’s box office sales increased slightly from the 2021 iteration, but total attendance was heavily disrupted by cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to its latest impact report.

The report, compiled by Culture Counts, calculated punters spent $3.22 million at the box office at the 2022 festival, compared to $3 million in 2021.

Total attendance was 143,665, down from 473,616 in 2021, after several large events, including the festival’s opening, Escape, was cancelled due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19.

Ticketed event attendance was up to 99,396, from 95,521 at the 2021 festival.

Analysis of responses from 4,966 people found About 94 per cent of patrons reported having a good or excellent experience at the festival.

Perth Festival executive director Nathan Bennett said the organisation had navigated a pandemic safely for the second year running.

“We are immensely grateful to our audiences, artists, funding partners, donors, volunteers, and other supporters for making the festival possible in the face of the serious challenges thrown our way,” Mr Bennett said.

“This report shows the festival made a positive impact to honour their faith and investment in us. All our supporters have nourished our community through the festival’s activities, working towards our shared goal of a flourishing society and a dynamic culture here on Noongar Boodjar.”

It was the third festival programmed by artistic director Iain Grandage.

The results follow similar findings published in Artrage’s impact report, the organisation behind Fringe World Festival.

The festival posted a slight decrease in overall attendance compared to 2021, but an increase in the number of tickets purchased.

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