Attendance and Engagement - Participation - Overview

Attendance at classical music concerts is stable

The proportion of Australians attending classical musical concerts remained steady between 2005-06 and 2009-10 at 9 percent.

Attendance is stable across most age groups, with increases seen among over 55s, and decreases in the 35-54 age group.

Total audience sizes increased from around 4 million to 4.2 million over the same time period. Population growth may see audiences increase slightly in the short to medium term if attendance rates remain stable. However, the ageing population may affect audience sizes over the medium to long term because a higher proportion of population aged over 55 attend classical music.

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Total estimated attendances have increased from 47 million in 2005-06 to 55 million attendances in 2009-10

ABS estimates suggest the number of attendances at art venues or events increased 17 percent between 2005-06 and 2009-10. Art venues and events made up around 21 percent of the total number of cultural attendances in 2005-06, increasing to 24 percent in 2009-10.[1]

While all art venues and events saw increased attendance in 2009-10, the largest increases were for art galleries (around 1.7 million additional attendances in 2009-10) and popular music concerts (around 3.7 million additional attendances in 2009-10).

Attendances at other arts events, such as classical music concerts and theatre performances, also increased slightly over the period.


[1] Conservative estimate based on how often Australians attend the arts.

Non-arts cultural activities include attending museums, botanic gardens, cinemas, zoos, aquariums and libraries.

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More Australians now attend art galleries and popular music concerts

ABS surveys of attendance at cultural venues and events shows that 26 percent of the Australian population over the age of 15 attended an art gallery during 2009-10, equivalent to 4 million Australians. This was significantly higher than the 23 percent that attended in 2005-06.

Attendance at performing art events has also seen a statistically significant increase in 2009-10 from 50 percent of Australians attending at least one event in 2005-06 to 52 percent attending at least one event in 2009-10. This has largely been driven by attendance at popular music concerts. Three in ten Australians had attended a popular music concert in 2009-10 (30 percent) – a statistically significant increase on the 25 percent attending in 2005-06.

Attendance at classical music concerts, musicals and operas, dance performances and theatre performances has remained stable since 1999.

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Funding Sustainability - Support - Overview

Since 2010 regularly funded arts organisations have generated around 10 million attendances annually

Arts organisations regularly funded by the Australia Council attracted almost 11 million attendances to exhibitions and performances in Australia in 2012, an increase from the 9 million attendances in 2011.[1] In addition these arts organisations distributed over 2.5 million copies of their publications in 2012.[2]

In 2012, the majority of these attendances were at visual arts events (5.8 million) – an increase on 2011 and reflecting cyclical visitation patterns led by biennial arts events. Of the 4.6 million performing arts attendances, Music and Theatre both saw around 1.9 million attendances in 2012, which was higher than 2011.

The Major Performing Arts organisations generated 77 percent of performing arts attendances in 2012. The remainder of attendances were generated by the 140 Key Organisations.


[1] Arts organisations data is based on acquittal information and is subject to change based on updated data received from the Key Organisations and MPAs

[2] Publications includes books, art publications (publically available), newsletters (excludes membership newsletter), journals (literary, art and industry/sector), magazines(literary, art and industry/sector), catalogues and programs (publically available), sector publications (publically available), other publications (excluding annual reports)

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