Adelaide Guide: The Festival State

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Adelaide Fringe Projections
Published 24 Feb 2018

Adelaide Fringe Festival (16 Feb-18 Mar)

The Adelaide Fringe Festival is the largest festival in Adelaide, the biggest ticket-selling festival in Australia, and the second-largest arts festival on the planet after the Edinburgh Fringe. Originally a free event to support small artists on the outside of the Adelaide Festival, the Adelaide Fringe and its open-access model have grown to be a main summer event. Each year, swathes of artists from every corner of the globe flock to the Fringe to perform over four weeks. Facing sweltering Adelaide temperatures and unseasonal rains, the show goes on in venues across Adelaide's city centre and the entire state.

Adelaide Festival of Arts (2-18 Mar)

The Adelaide Festival of Arts has been a jewel in Adelaide’s festival crown for 58 years. The Festival plays host to productions from all over the world, including a number of Australian premieres and Adelaide exclusive performances. The Adelaide Festival’s varied, curated program includes theatre, dance, music, visual art and opera and is enjoyed in a range of venues across the city and outer surrounds, including outdoor performances along the picturesque River Torrens. The Adelaide Festival also produces Writers' Week (3-8 Mar), a free and mostly open-air event which incorporates readings, open discussions and school visits. Writers' Week encourages literary discussions between people of all ages and backgrounds, and presents a space for sharing ideas.

WOMADelaide (9-12 Mar)

The World of Music and Dance (WOMAD) Festival is a mammoth four-day event held in Adelaide's stunning Botanic Park. With hours of live music from all over the world every day, engaging talks from some of the top minds through The Planet Talks, stalls and food from the Global Village, and interactive installations to delight young and old, WOMADelaide is famously diverse and inclusive. WOMAD festivals have been held all over the world since 1982, with the Adelaide chapter launching in 1992. WOMADelaide alone has hosted over 750 artists and groups from over 100 countries.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival (8-23 Jun)

Established in 2001, the Adelaide Cabaret Festival is hosted by the Adelaide Festival Centre and presents classic and contemporary acts from Australia and abroad. The two-week event dominates the winter season of the Adelaide festivals calendar, starting on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend in June and is the largest cabaret festival in Australia.

SALA Festival (1-31 Aug)

The South Australian Living Arts (SALA) Festival exclusively presents South Australian visual artists every August in venues across the state. Launched in 1998, it remains an open-access festival promoting inclusivity, spanning all visual art mediums and all levels of proficiency.

Adelaide Guitar Festival (9-12 Aug)

The biennial Adelaide Guitar Festival is the most substantial guitar festival in the Southern Hemisphere and also has partnerships with two Spanish guitar festivals; the Córdoba Guitar Festival and the Seville Guitar Festival. The main festival is held in August, and in addition to this, three supported events are held over July and August; Guitars in Bars (13-29 Jul), the Adelaide Guitar Festival Winter School (16-20 Jul) and Resonance (28 Jul-10 Aug).

Adelaide Film Festival (Oct)

The Adelaide Film Festival was launched in 2002 as a biennial festival in March, but has since progressed to be an annual festival in October. The Film Festival highlights all manner of filmmaking including animation, documentary and fiction. The program includes director Q&A sessions, interactive activities and a number of premiere screenings. One of the boldest and most innovative film festivals in Australia.

OzAsia Festival (26 Oct-11 Nov)

The OzAsia Festival celebrates the culture, food and history of Australia’s geographical neighbours. Launched in 2007, the festival begins with the Moon Lantern Festival on the River Torrens; a breathtaking display of traditional and modern lanterns, led by the 40 metre long Hong Kong Dragon. Visual and performing artists from across Asia are celebrated over the festival in several world and Adelaide premiere performances and exhibitions.

Feast Festival (10-25 Nov)

Adelaide’s queer arts and culture festival, Feast is the final event in the annual Adelaide calendar held in November. Beginning in 1996, Feast turned 21 in 2017, and is now the third largest LGBTQI+ festival in Australia, programming artists from all over the world. 

DreamBIG Children’s Festival (May 2019)

Formerly known as the Come Out Children’s Festival, the DreamBIG Children’s Festival has had over two million young participants since its inception in 1974. The biennial festival includes a dedicated schools program encouraging events and performances in schools across the state, and the free Big Family Weekend – a range of arts activities held in Elder Park and other venues in Adelaide.