Midsumma Festival is Victoria’s premier LGBTQIA+ festival. A cross-generational festival that champions LGBTQIA+ ideas, stories and experiences through conversations and events.
Usually held in the summer months each year, the festival is a three-week program made up of visual arts, theatre, spoken word, cabaret, film, live music, parties, sport, social events and public forums. The organisation also works year-round to provide support and tools to artists, social-changers and culture-makers.
Midsumma is a unique and innovative presentation of queer arts and culture that brings together a mix of artists, performers and communities. Due to COVID-19, in 2021 Midsumma Festival ran from 19 April to 5 May, with Midsumma Pride March on Sunday 23 May. Some events were restricted in capacity due to capped venue numbers and therefore Midsumma Festival augmented events with live and livestream to assist in reach and attendance.
Organisers of Midsumma Festival engaged Culture Counts to conduct an evaluation of this year’s event. Attendees were surveyed via interview by Midsumma volunteers across Midsumma Festival, as well as an open link to the online survey via the Midsumma website and enewsletter.
In total, 653 members of the public were surveyed through the interviews (325) and online surveys (328).
Each survey contained a range of ‘dimension’ questions, asking members of the public about their experience of the event. These dimensions have been developed and tested in collaboration with industry, practitioners and academics to measure the impact and value of arts and cultural events and activity.
Appropriate dimensions were chosen based on their alignment with Midsumma Festival's strategic objectives.
|Cultural||Meaning||It moved and inspired me|
|Social||Connection||It helped me to feel connected to people in the community|
|Safe||It made me feel safe and welcome|
|Wellbeing||It had a positive impact on my physical health and mental wellbeing|
|Quality||Local Impact||It's important that it's happening here|
Dimensions are assessed on a Likert scale, in which respondents move a slider to a point that indicates whether they agree or disagree with the dimension statement. An example of a dimension question in the Culture Counts survey tool is presented below.
All survey respondents were asked to provide their age and gender at the end of the survey. This enables Midsumma to understand the demographic mix of their audiences, identifying whether particular groups are more likely to attend festival events and whether they are impacted differently by their experience. This knowledge can facilitate targeted marketing in future years.
Respondents were also asked about the ages of children attending the Festival with them. These proportions have been added to the age chart below.
The majority (49%) of the sample identified as female, with those identifying as males making up 38%. 7% of respondents identified as non-binary, 1% identified as transgender and less than 1% identified as agender.
The largest age group of respondents was the 25-34 bracket (31%), followed by those aged 35-44 (22%). The 18-24 age group accounted for 14% of respondents, the 45-54 age group accounted for 11% and the 55-64 age group accounted for 8%. Of the children attending with respondents, 4% were aged between 5 and 11 years and 4% were teenagers between 12 and 17 years.
Survey respondents were asked to provide information regarding their identity. It enables data to be matched to the wider population and responses to be filtered to understand differences in demographics.
The following charts show the proportion of survey responses captured for the identity and sexual identity questions.
Most of the sample (49%) identified with none of the listed categories, with another 5% indicating that they'd prefer not to say. 24% of the sample identified as a person living with a mental health issue, 17% identified as a culturally diverse or person of colour, and 8% identified as a person living with chronic illness and/or chronic pain. 7% of the sample identified as being autistic/neurodiverse, 6% identified as a person with disability and 4% identified as being a carer for someone with disability. The smallest proportion of respondents identified as being Deaf (less than 1%).
Midsumma Festival survey respondents represent a wide mix of sexual identities. The highest percentage of respondents identified as gay (32%), followed by heterosexual (18%), lesbian (15%), queer (15%) and bisexual (11%). The lowest percentage identified as asexual (less than 1%).
The vast majority (93%) of the sample indicated that they do not have an intersex variation, with 5% being unsure and 2% preferring not to say. Less than 1% identified as having an intersex variation and less than 1% responded with 'Other'.
Survey respondents were asked to provide their current living location and postcode. This data identifies the demographic sample of people who responded to the survey and took part in the event.
The following charts show the proportion of survey responses captured for respondents' identified living location and top postcode results.
The majority of respondents indicated that they live in the Melbourne metropolitan area (89%). 5% of the sample live elsewhere in Victoria and 5% live interstate. 1% of the sample indicated that they were from Overseas. The results indicate that Midsumma mostly attracts a local and regional Victorian audience, with 94% of respondents residing in the Melbourne metropolitan area and elsewhere in Victoria.
The top 10 postcodes were located within inner and middle ring suburbs of Melbourne. The most commonly cited postcode was Northcote (3.8%), followed by Brunswick East (3.1%), Melbourne (3.1%) and Brunswick (2.7%). Of the respondents who reported living Overseas, one person was from Germany and another was from Canada.
Respondents were asked about their household structure and overall income.
The majority of respondents reported living in a couple (31%) or as a single (27%). This was closely followed by those who reported living in a share house (23%) and with family (19%). This indicates Festival events appealed to a mix of audience, from singles to families.
The majority of the sample reported their combined income being $100,000+ (38%), followed by $80,000 - $100,000 (13%).
Respondents were asked about who they attended the Festival with, whether they attended with children and the ages of those children.
The majority of respondents attended the event with a friend/s (62%), followed by those who attended with their partner/s (19%). 11% of the sample reported attending the Festival by themselves, 4% attended with family or friends including children under 18 years and 4% attended with family.
Of the respondents who attended with children, 50% reported attending with teenager/s over 12 years old, 50% attended with a child/children between 5 years and 11 years and 22% attended with a child/children under 4 years.
Respondents were asked about which events they attended as part of the Festival, how many events they attended and whether they had attended Midsumma before.
Most of the sample (71%) indicated that they had attended Midsumma Festival in previous years, with 29% reporting that this was their first time.
The majority of respondents attended the Midsumma performance event/s (74%), followed by those who attended the Midsumma Pride March (40%). Party/Club/Social event/s (30%), Visual Arts event/s (28%) and Community/Culture event/s (17%) were also commonly cited options. The least commonly cited options were Faith event/s (1%) and Youth event/s (2%).
Respondents were asked to indicate how many events they attended as part of the Festival. The majority of respondents reported having attended one event (31%), followed by two events (22%), three events (17%) and four events (9%). A small proportion of respondents attended 10 or more events (3%).
Survey respondents moved a slider to indicate whether they agreed or disagreed with the dimension statement using a likert scale. The chart contains data for all public responses, showing the average score and the percentage of people that agreed or disagreed with each of the statements across the Festival evaluation as a whole.
All dimensions received high levels of agreement, with at least 88% of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing with each statement. 'Local Impact' (95% agreement) and 'Safe' (94% agreement) received the highest levels of overall agreement, demonstrating that almost the entire sample of respondents agreed that it's important that the event was happening in Melbourne and that it made them feel safe and welcome. 'Wellbeing' (89%) also received a high level of agreement, demonstrating that the vast majority of the sample also agreed that the Festival had a positive impact on their health and wellbeing.
When looking at the average score received for the dimension statements, 'Safe' and 'Local Impact' again received the highest scores (88/100 each). 'Connection' received the next highest average (82/100) indicating that respondents also felt the Festival helped them feel connected to people in the community.
The Culture Counts digital platform aims to capture survey responses via various methods at minimal marginal cost. Achieving larger samples enables organisations to be confident that the average scores and opinions of the survey group are representative of the total audience.
This chart shows the margin for error for each dimension from the sample.
At a 95% confidence level, the margin of error for dimensions ranged from 1.3% to 1.7%. This means that we can be 95% confident that if we surveyed the entire visitor population, the average outcome for 'Safe' would fall within 1.3% of the average generated by the sample.
Results can be filtered by demographics and custom questions to see whether particular groups within the Midsumma Festival audience experienced the festival in different or more impactful ways.
The following charts distribute the average dimension scores given by the age and gender cohort that respondents identified with.
Respondents who identified as female scored slightly higher than males on average across the full range of comparable dimensions, and higher than those who identified as non-binary for three out of five comparable dimensions. Those who identified as non-binary gave the highest scores for 'Connection' (85/100) and 'Meaning' (83/100), indicating that they were most likely to agree that the event made them feel connected to people in the community and that it moved and inspired them.
Those who identified their gender as 'Other' gave the highest scores on average for 'Safe' (92/100) and 'Local Impact' (92/100), indicating that they were most likely to agree that the Festival made them feel safe and welcome and that it's important that the Festival is happening in Melbourne.
There was little difference in scoring by age group for the majority of dimensions. The highest scores were given by respondents in the 20-29 and and 40 - 49 age bracket. Older age brackets tended to score slightly lower for the majority of dimensions.
Respondents from elsewhere in Victoria gave the highest or equal highest average scores for 'Safe', 'Wellbeing', 'Meaning' and 'Connection' and the second highest score for 'Local Impact'. Respondents from interstate gave lower average scores with these respondents least likely to agree with 'Wellbeing', 'Connection' and 'Local Impact'.
The following charts distribute the average dimension scores given by the categories that respondents identified with.
The differences in scoring by diversity group were not significant, however respondents identifying as a person living with chonric illness and/or pain recorded slightly lower scores for all five dimensions, except 'Local Impact'. Those identifying as culturally diverse or a person of colour were most likely to agree with the majority of the statements, with this group giving the highest average score for four of the five dimensions.
When looking at the impact on different sexual identies, there was little difference in the average scores for 'Safe' and 'Local Impact' indicating respondents' sexual identity did not impact on whether they felt safe and welcome at the Festival or that it was important the Festival was happening in Melbourne.
Those who identified as pansexual tended to score slightly higher than other groups, giving the highest average score for 'Wellbeing', 'Meaning' and 'Connection'. Respondents identifying as bisexual tended to give slightly lower scores overall, with this group giving the lowest score for 'Wellbeing' and 'Connection'.
Respondents were asked whether they would recommend Midsumma Festival to a friend or colleague. Respondents could choose a number from 0 to 10 from a menu, with 0 meaning 'not likely at all' and 10 meaning 'extremely likely'.
These results can be used to calculate a Net Promoter Score (NPS). NPS is a standardised metric that seeks to measure loyalty between an organisation and its audience. Respondents with a score of 9 or 10 are considered 'Promoters'. 'Detractors' are those who respond with a score of 0 to 6. Scores of 7 and 8 are considered 'Passives'.
NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of respondents who are Detractors from the percentage of customers who are Promoters. This means that an overall Net Promoter Score can range between -100 to +100.
This chart shows the proportion of respondents that would or would not recommend Midsumma Festival, followed by the calculated NPS below.
72% of respondents scored either 9 or 10 indicating they would be classified as promoters, 20% of respondents scored passive results (7 or 8) and 8% would be considered detractors (scoring between 0-6).
A NPS that is positive (i.e. higher than zero) is felt to be good, and an NPS of 50+ is excellent. Midsumma Festival's NPS of 62 shows an outstanding level of attendee loyalty and a high likelihood of recommendations to friends and colleagues.
Respondents were asked how they first heard about Midsumma Festival to evaluate the success of various marketing methods. 13 options were provided and respondents chose from a dropdown list and respondents could choose as many options as was applicable.
The majority of respondents heard about Midsumma Festival through social media (50%) while others heard about the event through someone telling them about the Festival (30%) or because they have always attended the Festival (24%). The lowest score was obtained by blog (1%).
Survey respondents were asked a series of questions about the brands and sponsors involved with Midsumma Festival.
69% of respondents indicated they could recall sponsors of the Midsumma Festival. When asked to list the brands they recalled in a free text answer, 28% of respondents mentioned NAB, with 24% recalling the City of Melbourne as a sponsor. Creative Victoria was recalled by 6% of respondents.
When asked to choose from a list of sponsors in a prompted question, the number of respondents who recalled City of Melbourne increased to 69%, and the number of respondents who recalled NAB increased to 43%. JOY 94.9 was also well recalled by respondents (39%) when prompted (compared with only 4% when unprompted).
Respondents were asked to provide one word that they felt best describes Midsumma Festival. The word cloud enlarges words that were repeated more frequently in survey responses.
Respondents were asked to leave any additional feedback about their experience at Midsumma. This feedback has been classified into positive, neutral or negative categories, with the percentage of feedback sentiment types presented in the following chart.
Feedback helps organisations understand where the value of visitor experiences lies and how they can be improved and strengthened in the future. A selection of comments have been highlighted underneath.
Keep up the important & wonderful work you do planning & implementing the Midsumma Festival. It promotes social connectedness and saves the lives of LGBTIQ+ people!! : ) A heart felt thanks.
Thank you, Midsumma is a wonderful part of the Festival calendar and we love visiting from Adelaide :)
Had such an amazing time at this year's festival - always so good to see there is an strong and diverse queer community in Melbourne.
Congratulations on modifying Midsumma 2021 so we can still celebrate as a community safely
It's a fabulous festival offering such variety of events which I like to support at least once every year. Keep up the great work.
I had an absolutely incredible time at the Live at the Bowl event. You curated a magical line up and it was fantastic fun. I think that people are still not quite recovered from COVID and that affected the turn out but as a group we had a riotous time. I particularly loved that there was little emphasis on drinking. Most of my friends and I have mental health challenges and the focus on alcohol puts me off events at times but this was just good, clean fun. Thank you for showcasing some of the amazing LGBTQI+ talent in our midst and creating a safe and fun environment for us to let our hair down. I would love to see an event like this stay on the bill in Midsumma's future.
Thank you so much for putting on a great festival despite huge difficulties!! I look forward to Midsumma all year, as it is the time I feel most connected to our community. I love catching up with friends and acquaintances and meeting new people and getting the chance to chat and hang out. I was lucky enough to be able to access a variety of performance and visual events and am looking forward to marching in Pride March again. After such a cruddy year I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to attend Midsumma events this year. I loved the Live At The Bowl on Friday night but not sure what happened as it said it was "sold out" but seemed less than half full. Nonetheless the event was fantastic and hope it can be built on next year. The livestream was so great to be able to access for both myself and family interstate. THANK YOU MIDSUMMA!!
It was sad we didn't have Carnival Day, however one understands this wasn't possible due to Covid-19.
The booking fee - $7 - is a bit steep, when the only way it can be avoided is buying tickets at the door before the performance. I hope it's only cost recovery!
Please ensure venues are suitable for performance events. At one of the events I went to (Moist at Mission to Seafarers), anyone who wasn't sitting in the front row could barely see anything of the show. Seating needed to be tiered.
The Myer Music Bowl event was disappointing in that many who booked didn't turn up and there was no mechanism to reallocate tickets.
Respondents were asked to rate the COVID safety measures implemented at the Festival events and about how comfortable they felt whilst attending Festival events.
44% of respondents rated the COVID safe measures and social distancing at Festival events as excellent, with another 38% rating the measures as good. Less than 1% gave a rating of terrible, with 5% of respondents being unsure.
When asked about their comfort level when attending Festival events, the majority felt comfortable, with 65% very comfortable. Less than 3% of respondents felt uncomfortable.
Spending questions ask survey respondents about how much they spent in the local area on items like shopping, food and beverage etc. as part of their attendance at the event. Respondents are asked to exclude accommodation as this is separated as part of the economic impact calculations.
Respondents are also asked what they would have done otherwise if it was not for their attendance at the event. This question is used to determine 'additionality', which is the percentage of spending that could be considered to be additional, or could genuinely be attributed to the event. The proportion of expenditure that would have occurred anyway (the ‘deadweight’) is accounted for through an additionally adjustment that takes into consideration the reasons why respondents are spending money in the local area and what they would have done had they not attended the event. Melbourne respondents were asked what they would have done if they hadn’t attended the event, and respondents from elsewhere were asked if attending Midsumma was a reason for their trip.
The following charts show the visitor spending and additionality results used in the economic impact analysis.
72% of respondents reported spending less than $200 per person at the event and in the local area, with most people reporting to have spent under $100 (47%) and $100-200 (25%). After outliers were removed, the average spend per person was determined as $154.
The majority (65%) of local respondents would have stayed home or gone to work if they had not attended the event and 67% of respondents from outside Melbourne reported Midsumma as being one of the main reasons for their visit.
Survey respondents were asked to estimate how much they had spent as part of their visit, the level of influence on their decision to visit, as well as indicate what they would have done if they had not visited. Combining this data with attendance figures allows an overall impact figure to be generated.
Economic impact is determined by three main factors:
Attendance: The number of people spending money (converted to the number of nights for accommodation and longer trips).
Spend: Spending in the local economy. Includes spend as part of a visit ad spend on accommodation for those staying overnight. Excludes spending on tickets or other items that would be captured through organisation expenditure (i.e. to avoid double-counting).
Additionality: The percentage of spending that would not have occurred otherwise.
To calculate the economic impact on the local area, only additional visitation is included. From those visits, only expenditure that would not have otherwise occurred is considered. In this case, the economic impact is from attendees who would have otherwise stayed at home, gone to work, or those who would have done something else outside the local area.
The tables below detail a breakdown of visitation by additionality (i.e. new visits to the area because of the event), visitor expenditure (if they came and stayed in the area because of the event and any other spending they did), and total economic output.
|ORIGIN||UNIQUE ATTENDEES||EVENT SPEND||ADDITIONALITY||TOTAL|
|Melbourne Metropolitan Area||67,850||$139||66%||$6,212,263|
|Elsewhere in Victoria||4,005||$230||70%||$648,706|
*Only 7 responses were collected from respondents who consider their primary location of residence to be Overseas. Due to the small sample size this category was not included in the calculations for economic impact.
|ORIGIN||NIGHTS STAYED IN THE AREA||ACCOM SPEND/NIGHT||ADDITIONALITY||TOTAL|
|Melbourne Metropolitan Area||12,911||$100||66%||$853,567|
|Elsewhere in Victoria||3,738||$97||70%||$253,839|
|Total Nights Generated||19,393|
|Gross Ticket Sales Revenue||$256,339|
|Total Direct Impact||$11,387,650|
|Total Multiplied Impact||$32,465,342|
Note: For the purpose of this analysis, output multipliers derived from ABS Output Tables 2012-13 have been applied to direct impact expenditure.
Event expenditure scaled by an output multiplier of 2.96 (representing an average of national Retail and, Food and Beverage multipliers (2.88 and 2.96 respectively).
Accommodation expenditure scaled by an output multiplier of 2.75 (the national Accommodation multiplier).
Organisation expenditure scaled by an output multiplier of 2.75 (the Australian National Heritage, Creative and Performing Arts Output Multiplier).
Culture Counts encourages the use of the same metrics between evaluations, allowing results to be compared over time. Midsumma Festival attendees have been surveyed since 2018, allowing comparison on some questions over the years.
The charts below compare results for gender and age the breakdown.
When comparing age results from 2020 to 2021, similar percentages were obtained across the majority of age brackets. In 2021, there was a small increase of those aged 25 - 34, 45 - 54 and 55 - 64 from the previous year.
The split between respondents identifying as female and male has been relatively even and stable since 2018. In 2021 however, there was a slight increase in those identifying as female responding to the survey and less respondents identifying as male. There was also a slight decrease in those identifying as transgender in 2021 from previous years, and a small decrease from 2020 to 2021 of respondents identifying as non-binary.
The charts below compare results for diversity and sexual identity breakdown in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Similar results were obtained across all years for diversity, with an increase in those identifying as culturally diverse or person of colour/non-english speaking background from 2020 to 2021 (+4%). Less respondents chose none of the options than in previous year which may be due to a range of additional options being included in 2021, with 24% of respondents identifying as a person living with a mental health issue.
When looking at sexual identity comparison, respondents identifying as gay decreased slightly in 2021 after growing in numbers in 2019 and 2018. Respondents identifying as lesbian as remained consistent for the past four years. The number of those identifying as heterosexual has also remained consistent since 2019 whilst those identifying as queer as increased slightly in 2021 (+3%).
The chart below compares results for the five core dimension statements in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Across all dimensions, the average scores were consistent from 2021 to 2020. The averages for'Local Impact', 'Safe', 'Connection' and 'Wellbeing' were -1 lower in 2021, and the average for 'Meaning' was -2. This indicates the level of positivity toward the event is remaining steady over the years, regardless of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognise the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past, present and emerging.