Big hopes for city arts fest
The number of bums on seats will determine whether the Auckland Arts Festival becomes an annual event.
Auckland Council’s budget group has supported trialling the festival every year between 2015 and 2017.
Currently, the 19-day Auckland Arts Festival is held every second year in central Auckland.
The festival’s trust will receive a boost of $3.2 million a year, most likely provided through the Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Act.
A decision about running the event annually will be made after the 2016 festival, dependent on sustainability.
The key test will be holding onto its attendance numbers, according to a report presented to council.
The $11.2m event reached more than 180,000 people, a report on the 2013 festival says.
Based on ticket sales about $3m was made, more than doubling 2011’s earnings.
Festival founder and chairwoman Victoria Carter says a strong programme and pricing to entice a wide audience will be key.
Sourcing popular yet affordable works that appealed to those new to the arts, was essential to 2013’s success, she says.
‘‘The fact that half of our audience is under 45 also gives us great potential to grow new festivalgoers.
‘‘In 2016 we also expect to have a number of collaborations with leading New Zealand arts companies,’’ she says.
A report prepared for the council highlighted how proud the event makes Aucklanders feel, the exposure given to smaller groups and the balance it offers to Auckland’s sports-dominated events calendar.
But boosting the festival’s funding to $3.2m per year ‘‘may displace other arts sector spend’’, the report said.
The trust says an additional $1m will be sought in sponsorship and trust grants to fill the funding gap. Representatives from Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development and four other council departments investigated holding the event every year. PROS:
81 per cent of people surveyed at last year’s event agreed it made them proud of Auckland
It provided exposure for smaller arts groups
Australian evidence shows two-yearly festivals become yearly – eventually
A yearly arts offering would balance Auckland’s sportdominated events calendar CONS:
There would be ‘‘limited’’ direct economic benefit from the festival
Attendees are people already engaged in the arts scene
This means the festival does not line up with the Auckland Plan’s goals
Auckland is already jam-packed with events early in the year. Venues and accommodation are under pressure.
Arts trial: Auckland Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse with Auckland Arts Festival founder Victoria Carter.