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Extraordinary Council Meeting

24 May 2016


Item No:         Item 5

Subject:         Sydney Fringe Festival 2016 and Council Funding  

File Ref:         16/4718/57012.16         

Prepared By: Victoria Johnstone - A/Arts and Cultural Development Coordinator, Marrickville

Authorised By: Josephine Bennett -  A/Director Community Services, Marrickville



The paper proposes that Council sponsor the 2016 Sydney Fringe Festival and outlines the recommended conditions of that funding.







1.       the report be received and noted; and

2.       Council considers supporting the Sydney Fringe Festival with a cash contribution of $30,000 with a condition that Sydney Fringe Festival presents a Sydney Fringe Festival family event hub at Camperdown Park.





Founded in 2010, Sydney Fringe Festival (SFF) is an initiative of Newtown Entertainment Precinct Association (NEPA). NEPA was established through the Newtown Entertainment Precinct Project, a broad based Council driven cultural development project that ran from 2002 to 2006. Marrickville Council was a founding sponsor of SFF 2010, contributing $40,000 cash and $12,000 value in kind.

Now in its seventh year, SFF is the largest independent festival in NSW and has expanded across City of Sydney, Marrickville, Leichhardt and Waverley LGAs.

The objectives of Sydney Fringe Festival are to:

-     support, profile and provide opportunities for artists to develop new works, collaborate, experiment and reach new audiences;

-     add to the cultural vibrancy of the area;

-     stimulate day and night time economies, contributing substantially to local economies;

-     support local venues; and 

-     attract new audiences, residents and visitors to Sydney Fringe Festival events, participating venues and local businesses. 


Last year’s (2015) program included all ages ticketed and free events, public forums, pop – up installations and performances.

The Festival presented 324 shows across 9 genres in 52 venues, with:

-    63% of venues and 40% of events in City of Sydney;

-    17% of venues and 54% of events in Marrickville;

-    20% of venues and 8% of events in other LGAs (primarily Leichhardt and Waverley);

-    6% of events located in other areas (primarily Leichhardt and Waverley); and

-     Participation by 1944 artists of which 83% were local Sydney residents.


According to NEPA’s Post Event Report, 47,000 visitors attended SFF 2015 with an estimated $8,819,737 contributed to local economies.

Following a 2014/2015 review of the benefits received by Marrickville Council and community stakeholders through SFF, and in response to recommendations of a Council Report (CO41tem 6), Council supported the 2015 SFF with $40,000 and supply of Marrickville Road street banner poles. Funding was contingent upon specified deliverables, including $10,000 being used by NEPA to present a family hub over 9 days during school holidays (19-27 September 2015).

A contract between SFF and Council specified conditions for Council’s funding of the 2015 SFF. A SFF/Cross Council Working Group was established fostering better profile of Council, cross promotions, and inclusion of Culture and Recreation, Economic Development, Library and History, Children’s, Youth and Family programs in the 2015 SFF program and promotions. 

The family hub at Marrickville Town Hall attracted 1,493 ticket buyers with box office revenue of $25,139, of which $22,471 was retained by artists.

Funded by Council with a 2014 Arts and Cultural Grant, Aerialize Theatre Company presented sell-out SFF shows and were awarded the 2015 Fringe Award for Physical Theatre and Circus and the Festival Director’s Award. 

More information about SFF 2015 programs, partners, communications, demographics, audience attendance, media coverage and benefits to local economies and communities are detailed in the SFF 2015 End of Year Report (ATTACHMENT 1) and the Council Funding Acquittal (ATTACHMENT 2).  





There are sufficient funds allocated in the 2016/2017 budget to fund the $30,000 cash funding.





SFF Government Funding Partners, 2015 to 2016








Marrickville Council







City of Sydney








For SFF 2016, City of Sydney has committed $180,000.

For SFF 2016, Leichhardt Council has committed $40,000. This is specifically to fund the program to launch the new creative arts precinct, Off Broadway. NEPA will manage implementation and first stages of the new precinct (Parramatta Rd, between Pyrmont Bridge Rd and Norton St).  Launched as part of SFF over the weekend 10 to 11 September 2016, Off Broadway will include pop up activations in local venues, empty shops and the introduction of Off Broadway branding. 


Inner West Council Partnership with NEPA – SFF 2016

Culture and Recreation staff met with SFF representatives and identified opportunities for 2016 whilst maintaining the collaborative approach, profile and benefits to Inner West Council.  

In particular, the opportunity for SFF to present a 2016 SFF Family Events Hub at Camperdown Park over the weekend of 17 and 18 September 2016 was suggested.  This focus would support Council’s aim of profiling the refurbished Camperdown Park, community and recreation facilities, Chrissie Cotter Gallery, Art Camp and the new Camperdown Commons. Activities would include pop up performances in the new community room and bandstand, fancy dress cricket games, roving music and performances, a family movie in the park and a Fringe Festival Bar at Camperdown Commons. It will connect Camperdown Park with Parramatta Road and Leichhardt’s Off Broadway initiative.

It is proposed that Inner West Council support the 2016 SFF through $30,000, and supply of Street Banner poles along Marrickville Road with the following conditions attached to funding:

-      Council’s Manager Culture and Recreation (or a nominated representative) is invited as an “x-officio” guest at meetings of the NEPA Board, the organisation responsible to deliver SFF;

-      SFF and Council will maintain operations of the Council / NEPA working group, including  staff from Council’s Library and History, Children’s, Culture and Recreation, Economic Development and Communications services;  

-      NEPA agrees to present a SFF family activity and event hub, at Camperdown Park, 17 and 18 September 2016;

-      Inclusion of a welcome message and photo on front page of SFF 2016 program alongside the Lord Mayor of Sydney and NEPA representatives;

-      The Administrator or nominated representative is invited to speak alongside Lord Mayor of Sydney at SFF 2016 launch event;

-      Acknowledgement and branding of Inner West Council as “Founding Sponsor” of SFF with Inner West Council logo in all materials promoting the Festival, including but not limited to the 2016 SFF program, the website homepage, posters, brochures, advertisements, postcards, street, stage and event banners, artist passes;

-      Option for SFF to produce street banners with Council logo and “Founding Sponsor” branding to be installed along Marrickville Road from 15 August to 30 September 2016.

-      Full page Inner West Council colour advertisement in the SFF 2016 printed program;

-      Inner West Council will receive 25 double passes to any Sydney Fringe Festival show or event (subject to availability); and

-      VIP invitations to SFF 2016 launch event.


NEPA is aware and supportive of these conditions. If endorsed by Council, these elements will be incorporated into the agreement with NEPA for the 2016 Sydney Fringe Festival.





NEPA representatives have been consulted in relation to this issue.





Inner West Council is a founding and current sponsor of the Sydney Fringe Festival (SFF). Culture and Recreation have reviewed Council’s sponsorship of SFF and benefits received in return for that funding. For 2016, it is recommended that Council support SFF, contingent on SFF presenting a family activity and event hub, over 6 days (19 – 27 September 2015) at Camperdown Park. The report outlines proposed conditions and benefits to be supplied by SFF in return for Council funding.  





Sydney Fringe Festival 2015 Post Event Report


Sydney Fringe Festival 2015 Marrickville Council Aquittal Report