Adelaide festivals: Top Picks – Music

From punk to opera, no musical taste need go unsatisfied this festival season

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Tokyo Jet Daze: Jet Boy
Photo by Charlyn Cameron
Published 06 Feb 2020

Amanda Palmer: There Will Be No Intermission

Photo by Allan Amato

Accompanied only by her piano and ukulele, the former Dresden Dolls maverick Amanda Palmer peels back both the darker and lighter moments of her life for a Herculean gig that's both therapeutic and uplifting. 

RCC, 14–15 Feb, 7:30pm

Tokyo Jet Daze: A Japanese Punk Weekender

Photo by Charlyn Cameron

Put on your leathers and head to UniBar's old band room (aka LVL5) to spend a raucous head-clearing weekend with Guitar Wolf and The Jet Boys – two icons of Tokyo's homegrown punk scene. 

RCC, 28–29 Feb, 9:30pm

Mad Max meets The Shaolin Afronauts 

The classic dystopian action-thriller starring a young Mel Gibson gets a live brassy soundtrack from Adelaide's own The Shaolin Afronauts. A movie and a concert in one. 

Adelaide Festival Centre [Adelaide Festival], 29 Feb–1 Mar, 10:30pm

Weyes Blood 

Photo by Kathryn Vetter Miller

Her 2019 album Titanic Rising rides a wave of acclaim and now Natalie Mering, aka Weyes Blood, soars into Adelaide for the first time. While a strict Christian upbringing and a philosophical dive into the eponymous doomed ocean liner make her a compelling voice, it's the once-in-a-generation vocals and comparisons to Karen Carpenter which warrant the hype. 

Adelaide Festival Centre [Adelaide Festival], 5 Mar, 9pm


Photo by Jack Fenby

The international music festival brings everyone together in Botanic Park. This year's line-up includes contemporary folk star Laura Marling performing a stripped-back acoustic set, Odette's interplay of music and poetry, and Eurovision songwriter Luisa Sobral. 

Botanic Park, 6–9 Mar

Breaking the Waves

Photo by James Glossop

An innocent newly-wed attempts to heal her injured husband in an act of faith which sees her playing out his sexual fantasies with other men. Scottish Opera's adaptation of Lars von Trier's 1996 film makes for a more emphatic retelling with Sydney Mancasola excelling in the role of the tragic Bess McNeill. 

Festival Theatre [Adelaide Festival], 13 & 15 Mar, times vary


Nothing beats an an outdoor venue in the evening air during festival season. UTOPIA (renamed from Dusk till Dawn) brings electronic and synth favourites to the open-air with an eclectic line-up. The season opens with Baker Boy and Tkay Maidza.

RCC, various dates between 14 Feb–14 Mar, 9pm

Adelaide Festival's 60th Birthday Concert 

Photo by Damian Bennett

There was always going to be something special to celebrate the Festival's diamond anniversary. As a gift to the city, the Festival are staging a free concert in Elder Park with the incomparable composer-comedian Tim Minchin. 

Elder Park [Adelaide Festival], 29 Feb, 8pm