Western Australia's isolation from the rest of Australia and from the world has been both physical and psychological. Distance has been a barrier to participation in Australian cultural life, with many Australian and international performers, bands and theatre companies reluctant to include a Western Australian leg to their tours.
With the improvement in international and interstate air travel in the 1960s being followed by the construction of the Perth Entertainment Centre and the Perth Concert Hall in the mid-1970s, many more performers have been willing to come to Western Australia.
The Festival of Perth, which began in the 1960s to foster cultural life in Western Australia, now attracts performers who often go on to attend other Australian festivals, such as the Adelaide Festival. While few major performers are willing to tour regional centres in Western Australia, the 1999 Perth International Arts Festival included performances outside the Perth metropolitan area for the first time. The change in the Festival's name to emphasise its international and outward-looking nature reflects the gradual end of Western Australia's cultural isolation over the last two decades of the 20th century.