Adelaide Fringe Website

Katalyst partnered with Australia’s largest fringe festival to help reinvent its ticket sales experience

Since 2015, Adelaide Fringe has partnered with Katalyst Interactive to develop their ticket sales commerce website. Adelaide Fringe is an annual open-access arts festival run over four weeks in Adelaide, South Australia during February and March. It is the largest annual arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere and the second-largest Fringe in the world. The website provides a solid foundation for the Adelaide Fringe’s future expansion in the digital space, and can be scaled to handle millions of dollars in sales and traffic over a condensed 3 month period during the festival.


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The Adelaide Fringe approached Katalyst in 2015 when their business critical website, infrastructure and ticketing sales system were straining under very high traffic, increasing user demands and high growth in their online ticket sales.

They required a digital partner that they could trust and provide a level of expertise that could deliver a solution to support the high traffic, complex data relationships and large infrastructure a real-time ticketing solution demands.

The Solution

Katalyst partnered with multiple Fringe stakeholders to collectively re-imagine and deliver the Fringe’s digital presence. The website was redesigned with a long-term vision in mind and integrated into a new ticketing solution (Via by Red61).

Complex integrations with internal and external systems

To simplify the extensive data input and management throughout the festival, Adelaide Fringe required a website with extensive integration into their internal artists and venues system that is used by Fringe artists to manage show information. The website would also be integrated with an event and ticketing management and payment gateway (Via by Red61). Katalyst was able to achieve this complex system architecture, which utilises many API requests to ensure data is managed and transferred as efficiently as possible.

Secure high performance infrastructure

With year on year increase in ticket sales, Adelaide Fringe required a scalable solution that could match their growth. Katalyst carefully architected a custom solution that implements data caching to provide quick and accurate information under extremely high traffic pressures. A clustered server environment allows for simple expansion whenever additional capacity is required.

Custom built ticketing provides a great purchase experience

Restrictions in the feature set provided by the external system managing the events meant the Adelaide Fringe couldn’t provide the ticketing experience they wanted to give their clients. Katalyst has developed new capability on top of the audience management system to give Adelaide Fringe the capability they required. Features such as a custom selling fast flag which lets customers know when tickets to a particular performance were selling quickly and a completely bespoke promotion feature. 

Katalyst also developed a custom abandoned cart feature which, if a customer leaves the website before completing their purchase, will keep the contents of the cart and send an email to the customer to prompt them to resume their purchase in the future.

Finding artist shows made easy

With thousands of events on offer, the Adelaide Fringe needed a solution that was simple for customers to browse and search for shows. Each user has different considerations based on whether they are booking a show in advance, finding a show for that night, searching for a particular genre, or even has particular accessibility requirements. This advanced filter system needed to allow users to easily segment the wide array of performances available.

More recently a new location-based feature, called “near me now”, was developed that will display shows at venues which are in the location proximity of the customer. 

To assist users browsing through shows, a Favourites feature allowed the user to keep track of the shows that they were interested in seeing. This Favourites feature is also future proof and allows the user to access their favourites from previous Fringe seasons. 

Algorithms ensure a ‘fair go’ for all Fringe artists

With so many artists competing for ticket sales, the Adelaide Fringe wanted to provide a level playing field for all artists and ensure customers get a wide variety of shows displayed. Katalyst developed a unique display algorithm which achieves this, and ensures there is not a display order that is favourable to one artist over another. 

Event pages for every show configuration

The Adelaide Fringe has a wide variety of venues as well as shows and times. Katalyst designed a page that can display many configurations of shows and it does this in a way that doesn't confuse the user. The page also loads in additional event information from both internal and external systems. This is all done in the blink of an eye as a result of refinements made for each annual festival that have improved the design and engineering of the website.

Built around a custom CMS that cuts down administration time

Adelaide Fringe wanted to minimise administration time of the website. Katalyst incorporated their own open-source CMS. This powerful tool provides easy administration of content as well as integration with all of the customised control over events. Changes made within the CMS seamlessly integrate back into the Fringe’s external event management system.

More than just ticket sales, it’s an e-commerce platform

With a strong brand presence in the market and the annual Fringe poster creation, the Fringe has a very popular merchandise offering. Katalyst extended the shopping experience beyond ticket sales to include the capability to browse and purchase merchandise to be delivered to customers. The website also accepts donations for the Adelaide Fringe Artist Fund as part of the checkout workflow. As an open-access arts festival, donations help contribute to the Artist Fund which Adelaide Fringe awards to several lucky artists each year.

The Outcome

Katalyst has developed a deep understanding of the Adelaide Fringe’s business, and established an ongoing relationship spanning multiple years. We work closely with third party application providers to ensure a fully integrated system.

The web application delivers a solid foundation for the Adelaide Fringe’s future expansion in the digital space. The data strategy and supporting infrastructure provides a platform, which can be scaled to handle millions of dollars in sales and traffic over a condensed 3 month period.

In 2019, Adelaide Fringe has smashed its box office record with an impressive 825,000 tickets sold, a 17 per cent increase on last year – the biggest boost in recent years.


  • 2.5 million website visits
  • $16.6 million box office revenue
  • Year on year ticket sales growth

Image credit: Tony Virgo