A network of cities that hold large-scale festivals has been formed to share ideas and collaborate on building audiences.
The alliance, called the International Festival City Network, is made up of the top festival cities in the word, including Edinburgh Barcelona, Krakow, Montreal, Berlin and Adelaide.
The mainly northern hemisphere network was formed by Festivals Edinburgh, which invited Festivals Adelaide to join as the only organization from the Asia Pacific.
Festivals Adelaide is an alliance of 10 unique arts festivals held in Adelaide, South Australia, including the Festival of Arts, Fringe and recently concluded OzAsia Festival. South Australia is known as the festival state and has a long history of staging large-scale festivals throughout the year.
Festivals Adelaide Executive Officer, Christie Anthoney said this is not only a significant recognition of Adelaide’s international reputation for festivals but also a historic opportunity for the state.
Adelaide hosts more than 10 festivals of varying sizes throughout the year, with many concentrated in a season dubbed Mad March, and, according to data from Live Performance Australia, has the highest attendance and revenue share of any state in Australia.
Adding to Adelaide’s position as a leading arts city in the region is the chairmanship of the Asia Pacific Performing Arts Centres (AAPPAC) by Douglas Gautier, the CEO of the Adelaide Festival Centre.
The International Festival City Network was created at a two-day meeting in Edinburgh to share knowledge and increase skills.
“The network will assist the sharing of knowledge, connections and ideas,” said Anthoney. “We exist to learn from each other to create better experiences for artists and audiences alike.”
Anthoney said that although each of the cities stages similar events, they do not directly compete for audiences.
“Interestingly Barcelona and Berlin were talking about active strategies to cool their tourism,” she said. “We can certainly step in there and take up the slack.”
She said that festivals are a growing phenomena that create and cultivate great cultural, social and economic benefits and each festival location in this network has its own unique set of issues to deal with to maintain their status as world leaders.
“Already at our first two day introduction, there were many similar stories and a general acknowledgement that great festival cities start with willing and engaged citizens,” she said.