Strong Ticket Sales for Dark Mofo and Vivid Winter Festivals

At a time when no-shows and cancellations keep major festivals at 70-80% capacity, two events generated better-than-expected ticket sales.

Dark Mofo’s 14-day run in Hobart in June was 94% of pre-COVID heights, while Vivid Sydney set a new attendance record. Both festivals are tourist boons.

Dark Mofo had 45 paid performances and offered free events and exhibits.

True to its 2022 “resurrection” theme, nearly 72,000 tickets were sold, with 300,000 counted at venues – the figure was 320,000 in 2019 – generating around $3.5 million.

Of these, 65% of ticket buyers were from outside Tasmania.

Dark Mofo’s Marketing and Commercial Director Drew Berridge says the “bold decision” to open the festival with teenage rapper The Kid Laroi at MyState Bank Arena set a new milestone in Dark Mofo’s history books. with a crowd of 5,200 people.

It was his “most successful” paid event to date.

Large crowds also turned out for music groups Spiritualized, Briggs, Emma & The Pushbacks, Nils Frahm and Kim Gordon.

Other flagship events have also proven successful.

Reclamation Walk saw 5,000 people march with the First Nations community through the city, starting at 3,000. The Winterfest also saw nearly 23,000 people on its final evening.

The Nude Solstice Swim, to welcome the return of the sun after the longest night of the year, saw 2,000 people brave the freezing waters of Derwent.

Over $130,600 was raised for Voices for Children, a charity that supports Ukrainian children and families affected by the Russian invasion.

Dark Mofo creative director Leigh Carmichael wryly noted that the festival had uncertainty about COVID-related restrictions when planning, venue shortages, staffing hurdles and program changes when some artists have fallen ill.

“Somehow we managed to navigate it all and it’s a relief that the festival was able to be presented in full again,” he said.

Madeleine Ogilvie, Minister of Small Business, clarified its tourist appeal.

Late last year, the Tasmanian government extended funding for another three years, worth $7.5 million as part of its $21.5 million fund to secure events .

Every dollar spent in the tourism industry resulted in another 84 cents being spent elsewhere in the wider economy as visitors spent more time on the island.

In the meantime, light, music and ideas from the NSW Government Long live Sydney 2022 (May 26 to June 17) set a new attendance record, according to figures released last week.

Crowds numbered 2.58 million, a 7.5% increase from 2019, when it hit a new high of 2.4 million and $170 million pumped into the state’s economy .

It had the biggest opening weekend in the event’s history with 435,000 spectators, up 8% from 2019.

In two weeks, the number of spectators rose to 1.2 million. A Saturday had over 222,000 people, the second largest audience in its history.

Restaurants in the Vivid Sydney footprint recorded over 300,000 customers in its first few weeks, many of whom remained at full capacity after the Vivid lights went out at 11pm.

Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres said Vivid Sydney had transformed the city and was having a “huge impact” on the recovery of its tourism economy and creative industries.

“[Vivid] showcased our global city to the world and solidifies our position as the events capital of Asia-Pacific,” he said. “It’s a blockbuster event and a key underpinning of the state’s visitor economy.”