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April 9, 2020
Culture

Adelaide Fringe calls on artists to register for online performance platform FringeVIEW

Adelaide Fringe Director Heather Croall says although the coronavirus crisis saw 60,000 ticket sales lost in the festival's last week, the Fringe will continue to support artists with a new virtual platform.

  • Words: Angela Skujins
  • Main Image: 'The Final Hours Hour' at Holden Street Theatres from Adelaide Fringe 2020

SPECIAL REPORT: COVID-19 ADELAIDE

Festival-goers who haven’t yet had enough of the month-long Adelaide Fringe Festival will receive an extended – and personal – season with Adelaide FringeVIEW.

The online video-hosting platform will be trialled from 1 May until 31 May and aims to support artists in the live performance sector who have suffered financially from the COVID-19 fallout through allowing fans to pay tickets for a virtual performance.

Adelaide Fringe director Heather Croall says South Australian and international artists are welcome to register, and in terms of content: “anything goes”.

Remarks

Adelaide FringeVIEW artist registrations open on 15 April.
More information here.

“We have all sorts of genres in Fringe, so you can register a workshop or a talk or a magic show or a bit of cabaret, you might do music, theatre,” Heather says.

“We’re calling for all the genres that are normally available, but we’ve also added a few extra genres in there because we’ve sort of expected that people will do more workshop-style stuff.”

Although Adelaide Fringe wrapped up on 15 March – only three days before the Federal Government announced the ban on non-essential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people – the festival did not come out unscathed by the COVID-19 crisis.

Heather says Fringe patrons who “rightly” acted with caution by not going out had an enormous effect on the festival’s final weekend.

Instead of selling the usual 60—70,000 tickets in the last five days of the festival, they “didn’t sell any”.

“We were on-track for probably a 10 per cent growth on last year, and we would have if we stayed there in that growth,” Heather says.

“We were tracking every single day ahead 10 per cent compared to that day last year – then it just completely fell off a cliff. It fell below the ticket sales of 2018 for the last five days.

“In the end we did land luckily three per cent up.”

Official figures will be released in the Adelaide Fringe’s annual report, which is expected for release in May.

The political and social implications of the COVID-19 restrictions also affected performers who had scheduled shows for only the last week of the festival.

Heather says the last week of the 2020 Fringe was “tough for any artist” and many who were scheduled to perform at other national and international festivals had their gigs cancelled.

“We’re hoping that this is an opportunity for them to hopefully earn a little bit of ticket income and stay engaged with audiences,” she says.

“A lot of artists are already doing really innovative things, like livestreams and putting things up on their Facebook and so on.

“But we just thought, ‘Well, we’ve spent the last four years developing a really sophisticated digital platform at the Fringe.’”

The Adelaide Fringe will charge a $1.80 transaction fee on each ticket sale of the recorded video performances, and prices will vary according to each artist.

Success of the Adelaide FringeVIEW trial will be determined by how many artists register and how much money is generated.

“The Adelaide Fringe is known for innovation and always pushing the boundaries,” Heather says.

“We think that FringeVIEW is totally in tune with our manifesto, which is all about inspiring artists to be brave and audiences to take risks, and we’re always pushing boundaries and believe in collaboration.

“We hope that the spirit of Fringe lives on in Adelaide FringeVIEW.”

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