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Adelaide is scooting toward festival season

Arts

The South Australian festival season kicks off this weekend with the launch of the Adelaide Fringe and the addition of Australia’s second electric scooter trial.

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Adelaide Fringe Festival patrons will have the opportunity to trial electric scooters to shuttle between shows in the city.

The month-long electric scooter trial will run throughout most of the festival period and follows a trial in Brisbane that the international scooter rental company Lime claims reached 500,000 rides this week since launching in November.

Adelaide Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor welcomed the State Government’s move to allow the electric scooter trial during one of the city’s most exciting times of the year, describing it as a fun way to commute.

“I’m genuinely excited about the opportunity to host a trial and look forward to seeing this fun, new form of transport used by thousands of people during the Fringe Festival,” she said.

Lime’s Director of Government Affairs Mitchell Price said the trial would create more than 60 jobs in Adelaide including operations specialists, mechanics and ‘juicers’.

Residents can sign up and earn up to $150 a day as ‘juicers’ collecting and charging the scooters every night to help the company reduce street clutter, a complaint from previous bike sharing operations.

The trial will offer scooters for $1 a ride and are available through the Lime app.

Festival time

Adelaide has dusted off its glittered heels for the start of the festival season with the Fringe starting today as a prelude the Adelaide Festival, WOMADelaide, Writers’ Week, and the Adelaide Superloop 500 in March.

Adelaide Festival Director Rob Brookman said the capital is awash at this time of year with a tidal wave of events.

“What happens in Adelaide in March is the second largest gathering of arts in the world, second only to the Edinburgh Festival,” he said.

“The combination of the Adelaide Festival, the Fringe, Writers’ Week and WOMADelaide all happening in a one-month period is a phenomenon you can’t really experience anywhere except Edinburgh.”

Brookman said the festival season is a defining identity trait for Adelaide and its residents should be proud of it.

Adelaide accounts for half of all of Australia’s festival attendances, according to Brookman, which he said is a “pretty astonishing statistic considering we account for a relatively small percentage of the entire population of Australia.”

“I think the festival is absolutely key to the identity of our city because it makes our city stand apart. It’s something no other city in our country has got,” he said.

“Everyone is proud of what they’re good at, and this is something Adelaide is really good at.”

Heather Croall, Director and CEO of the Adelaide Fringe said she is expecting the opening night party to welcome almost 15,000 festival goers.

“We’re starting off with a street party on War Memorial Drive. There will be hundreds of performers and two stages with bands and Fringe artists. There are also hundreds of food stalls there,” she said.

“We’re expecting tens of thousands of people to come along to the party tonight and enjoy the opening night of the fringe.”

The almost 60-year-old Fringe wants to increase its audience numbers from last year’s record ticket sales.

“Last year we sold around 700,000 tickets which accounts for almost 40 per cent of the entire nation’s arts festival tickets sold. That’s a pretty significant figure to focus on,” Croall said.

The 2018 Adelaide Fringe attracted more than 20,000 interstate and international visitors – up 8 per cent on 2017 – which delivered $29.5 million of new money to the state.

Brookman said that Adelaide Festival shows are also selling well.

“We probably have close to 20 events more than last year, and part of it is that in addition to the large-scale events, we’ve added quite a few smaller scale events like the very curious Schuldfabrik, which is a pop-up stall that is selling soap made of human fat. People can go on a one-hour guided tour of the back of house of the soap factory,” he said.

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