NAFA to return in July next year

Date published: 26 September 2019

The North Australian Festival of Arts (NAFA) is returning with dates confirmed for 2020.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill has confirmed that NAFA will once again run throughout the month of July.

Cr Hill said that holding NAFA during the winter events season had been a huge success.

“Over 102,000 people experienced our inaugural arts and culture festival and having it complement our existing winter events schedule worked really well.

“This means that there were over a quarter of a million experiences of the arts between NAFA, Fringe Festival, HALO, Strand Ephemera and Festival of Stories events.

“Townsville really voted on how they felt about NAFA with ticket sales reaching over $530,000 and our free events were incredibly well attended too.

“July is perfect for major events because we are so lucky to have a perfect summer in winter.”

Community and Cultural Development Committee Chair Colleen Doyle said over 1,200 people were involved in turning NAFA 2019 into an impressive event.

“Not only did NAFA provide over 1,000 artists a chance to perform in a major festival, it also created opportunities for 210 staff members and volunteers,” Cr Doyle said.

“The impact of major events is far-reaching and while there were over 1,200 people directly involved in NAFA, we also supported 81 suppliers and vendors.

“Importantly, over 90% of the people involved in pulling NAFA together were locals.

“That’s what really matters when we host major events like this – how can we provide an event that draws people in from not only Australia but all over the world and share those benefits with the community.”

Economic analysis of the impact of NAFA on the Townsville economy estimate that the month-long event injected $4.1 million to Gross Regional Product, directly and indirectly resulting in the equivalent of 68.8 annual full-time equivalent jobs.

Cr Hill said the feedback from the community had been incredibly positive and she is looking forward to seeing NAFA 2020 take shape.

“Over 1,000 people provided feedback once NAFA was over and the results were overwhelming with 96% of those people rating it as good or excellent.

“NAFA is a world-class event and I am so proud of everything the community achieved this year – I’m really looking forward to seeing how it grows in the future.”

Wonderland Spiegeltent Owner Colin Davis said the delivery of the inaugural festival was a great achievement.

“I can honestly say that in 30 years of being involved in the event industry throughout this country, I have never witnessed a new event work as well as NAFA did this year.

“In fact, I would add that any event organiser or committee would be ecstatic if their event reached this level of success after five years let alone after one year.”

Council is seeking funding support from both the State and Federal Government to host NAFA 2020.

Important Stats and Facts

  • $4.1 million injected into economy
  • Estimated to support almost 68.8 FTE jobs during the month
  • The cost of delivering NAFA was $1.6 million of which Council contributed $850,000 from existing budgets
    • The remainder of the cost was met by Box Office ticket sales, sponsorships, grants, and food and beverage revenue
    • A full report will be going to the October Full Council meeting
    • This report will include recommendations for future events
  • 1,002 artist jobs (884 local, 118 national)
    • Fringe performers: 128 paid, 36 volunteer
  • 81 suppliers and vendors (47 local, 14 greater QLD, 20 national)
  • 48 arts organisations (35 local, 4 greater QLD, 8 national, 1 international)
  • Over 400 performances were put on as part of NAFA and the Fringe Festival
    • More than half of these were free to attend
  • 1,085 survey respondents
    • 72.79% rated NAFA excellent, 22.97% rated it good
    • 90.68% are likely to attend arts and cultural events in the future following their experience at NAFA
    • 27.77% of respondents came to Townsville solely for NAFA
    • Average group size for event attendance was 5
    • Visitors to Townsville stayed on average 11 nights
    • 93.93% thought July was the best time to host NAFA
  • Hotel occupancy for July was up 8.6% from 2018
  • 102,200 total visitation (38,200 Queens Gardens, 41,000 Strand Park)
  • Gross box office (ticket sales) of over $500,000
  • Most popular events:
    • Noise (DanceNorth) – 10,000 people
    • Glenn Shorrock – 5,000 people
    • Joe Camilleri – 5,000 people
    • Australian Festival of Chamber Music Sunday Queen’s Gardens Concert – 5, 000 people
    • San Cisco – 4,000 people
    • Pimlico in the Park – 2,500 people
    • There were 73 sold out shows in the Spiegeltent and Queens Gardens venues.