Adelaide Fringe’s push for extra funds hit by claims of ‘inflated’ attendance numbers


The Adelaide Fringe is looking for an extra $4 million extra in government funding to a total $6.3 million to cover its annual expenses of around $12 million.

But there are rumblings of disquiet among Cabinet ministers over claims the Fringe festival has been pushing up attendance figures to justify the need for extra funds, according to The Advertiser.

The claims hinge on a number of established events being brought under the Adelaide Fringe’s umbrella including Indian Mela and Twilight Sessions.

The long running Indian Mela festival attracted 15,000 people in 2023, with chairman Amarjit Grewal saying the Fringe invited them to join their program.

“They approached us but we did not pay anything,” he told The Advertiser.

“We wanted people to come along and thought they could help promote it.”

The Adelaide Fringe hosted around 1,400 shows featuring across 500 venues this year, making it the biggest arts festival in the southern hemisphere. Given its scale, bringing in other events to capitalise on its success would also make sense. Either way, the government remains committed to its election promise to provide an additional $8 million to Fringe over four years.

“We promised at the election to and we are doing so,” Arts Minister Andrea Michaels said.