Adelaide Festivals, arts deserve public holiday recognition: Greens


With Adelaide's 'Mad March' festival season in full swing, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has written to SA Premier Peter Malinauskas asking him to rename the Adelaide Cup public holiday to “Adelaide Festivals Day’ to recognise the crucial contribution made to South Australia by festivals including the Fringe, Womad, Adelaide Festival, and Writers Week, among others.

Key Points:

  • Adelaide Cup horserace has a small number of attendees (7000) compared to the arts and music festivals in SA
  • Womad has 110,000 attendees
  • Adelaide Festival 227,404 attendees
  • The Fringe sold 1 million tickets in 2023, double the 500,000 in 2015.  The Fringe has 7,000 artists, Over 1,300 events.

Fringe Festival Economic contribution: 

  • $105.5 million total expenditure generated (40% increase from 2022) 
  • $84.3 million in new money to SA (68% increase from 2022) 
  • 9,813 direct and indirect jobs created (56% increase from 2022)

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young is Greens Spokesperson for the Arts:

“South Australia is still the Festival State and that should be recognised with a public holiday.

"Adelaide 'Festivals Day' is a much more appropriate public holiday given how much we love our festivals in this State.

"When you consider the social and economic contribution from festivals and the arts, compared to the relatively small number of attendees going to one horse race, it just makes sense.

"Only around 7,000 people attend the horse race. To put that in perspective, more than 1 million tickets were sold to the Fringe last year. Womad attracts 110,000 attendees, the Adelaide festival more than 220,000. 

"The numbers are clear: we are still the festival state.

“People from all over the country come to Adelaide in March to see the Fringe, Womad, Writers Week, the Adelaide Festival. It’s time we recognised that with a public holiday for festivals instead of one for a horse race with declining relevance and popularity.

“Festivals are more central to who we are as a State today than a horse race might have been in the past.”