25 Jun 2023

WOMADelaide 2023; the year that broke all records

Gratte Ciel’s Place des Anges, WOMADelaide
Gratte Ciel’s Place des Anges, WOMADelaide

After the hiatus of recent years, the truly global WOMADelaide returned with audiences and artists from around the world reuniting to celebrate the joy of music arts and dance in Botanic Park/Tainmuntilla, across the March 2023 long weekend – making the event one for the record books.
The 2023 program featured one of the biggest and most diverse line-ups presented in the event’s 31-year history – with over 700 artists and record-breaking attendances over the festival weekend with performances from artists including AURORA, Bon Iver, Fantastic Negrito, Florence + The Machine, The Proclaimers, Sampa The Great, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Soul II Soul, Youssou N’Dour and the spectacular Gratte Ciel’s Place des Anges.
Key highlights:

  • The event sold out on three of the four days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) prior to opening with record breaking attendances of 110,000.
  • WOMADelaide reported the highest ever total economic impact of $35.1 million for March 2023, a record number of first-time attendees and the highest ever number of visitors to the state for the event.
  • 52% of total audiences were visitors to Adelaide, spending an average of $2,729.
  • Average visitor length of stay in South Australia was 5.26 nights.
  • 110,777 visitor bed nights.
  • 21,308 visitors to the state.
  • WOMADelaide Saturday broke Adelaide’s CBD room occupancy record with the number of rooms sold in CBD hotels on Saturday 12 March  the second highest on record.
  • 73% of visitors dispersed to the regions across their duration of stay.
  • 93% of visitors to the state indicated that attending WOMADelaide was the main purpose of their visit.
  • The event created direct employment of 303 FT equivalent.
  • It is estimated the event also has associated expenditure (in gross terms) of $49.9 million in total throughout the economy.

Minister for Tourism, Zoe Bettison said WOMADelaide, one of Australia’s most loved festivals, has broken all records captivating once again audiences from around the globe. 
"Being able to witness such a celebratory and welcoming return for the festival from so many extraordinary artists from around the world after three very challenging years was just incredible and a credit to the hard-working WOMADelaide team that is committed to presenting a world class festival here in Adelaide," Minister Bettison said.
"At $906 million in total, visitor expenditure Mad March proved extraordinary for South Australia’s tourism industry, with the festival month clocking the highest increase on 2019 levels since the start of the pandemic; having presented such a unique mix of programming – combining eclectic music, arts and dance from around the world, together with an exciting program of large scale performances, WOMADelaide most certainly contributed significantly to this triumph." 

WOMADelaide Director, Ian Scobie AM said WOMADelaide is a tangible experience, it’s a pilgrimage for artists and audiences from around the world to experience the vibrancy of Adelaide’s festival season that so beautifully showcases the state’s riches of lifestyle, culture and diversity in Australia’s only ‘UNESCO City of Music’.
"We couldn’t be more delighted to see the growth in audience numbers and visitation into South Australia particularly after the challenges experienced since 2020," Mr Scobie said.
"To be the first ever cultural event to assist in breaking Adelaide’s long standing room occupancy record, now the second highest on record, speaks directly to the benefits cultural festivals and events play within the state’s economic ecosystem."