Why the arts sector loves long lead announcements

Revealing the centrepiece of your program months in advance has become a common tactic, but what value do such announcements serve?

Sydney Festival’s Aquasonic. Photo by Jens Peter Engedal.

Summer festival season is months away, but already the likes of Adelaide Festival, Sydney Festival and Perth International Arts Festival (PIAF) have begun to tantalise audiences with select announcements about their 2017 programs.

There are many reasons for doing so. Glossy publications such as Australian Traveller, Good Weekend and airline in-flight magazines routinely plan their coverage many months in advance, and arts organisations don’t want to miss out on a valuable listing or two-page spread in such publications.

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts