Festival sales close to record
Dance man Melvin Browne at the Fringe venue The Budgie Smuggler. Picture: Michael O'Brien/The West Australian

Bumper crowds are turning up to this year's Fringe World festival and the appetite for art is spilling over into record sales for the Perth International Arts Festival.

By the end of the first week, the Fringe World box office had rung up more than $1.5 million in sales, producer Artrage said.

This was a jump of 67 per cent from the same time last year, making it likely the $2 million total from last year will be surpassed in the next few days.

The most encouraging result was that 58 per cent of sales were for patrons attending their first Fringe World event, Artrage chief executive Marcus Canning said.

This week is shaping as the busiest in the four-week Fringe World program, with 168 of its 450 shows under way or about to be.

Among them is Australian Olympic high-dive gold medallist Matthew Mitcham, who is performing his debut cabaret show Twist and Turns.

Veteran song and dance man Movin' Melvin Brown is one of many international acts returning to Fringe World.

The 68-year-old former Baptist minister from Texas is said to be one of the oldest performers on the global fringe circuit with his tap-dance and soul music shows.

"If I say I'm 98, I'll probably get a lot of people to come to the show," he said, punctuating his comments with his trademark slow and deep laugh.

Brown is performing two shows, a tribute to Ray Charles and other soul and gospel legends, and his Tap Into Health dance classes.

"Tap dancing is the second most aerobic thing you can do," he said. "No matter how old you are, eight or 78, I can teach you something about tap and the 10 steps to health and happiness. Tap can reshape the world."

The Perth Festival, with a much bigger budget of $18.5 million, also is breaking records on its way towards achieving its box-office target of $5.4 million.

"The people of Perth are buying into this Festival faster and harder than ever," PIAF general manager Julian Donaldson said.

"We are now over 70 per cent of our $5.4 million ticket sales target . . . leading into week one," Mr Donaldson said.

Many of PIAF's marquee acts have arrived ahead of the three-week Festival starting on Friday.

Fringe World runs until February 23, overlapping with the Perth Festival, which is on from February 7 to March 1.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

More from The West