The South Australian government has saved the Adelaide Festival, Australia’s oldest performing arts fest, with a 50% funding increase.

Government will contribute $A2.2 million ($1.71 million) to the biennial meet, an increase of $A730,000 ($569,400).

Per Adelaide fest g.m. Tim McFarlane, strong competition from other state festivals, particularly Melbourne’s well-funded Intl. Arts Festival, was putting increasing strain on Adelaide and could have sapped its viability.

In its appeal to the government, the Adelaide Festival stressed the potential risk to the economic benefits the festival generates, including tourism. Government responded, per McFarlane, without any reservations or qualifications.

There were 7,500 interstate visitors and 2,500 foreigners present last year. Via increased marketing, McFarlane hopes to double that next time. With a similar drive to boost sponsorship, he’s hoping that B.O. sales and sponsorship will contribute $A4 million ($3.12 million).

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