When a city is known as ‘the Festival City’, you know it has to have a lot to offer! In Australia, that city is Adelaide, or as the locals like to call it: ‘Radelaide’! It’s such a popular destination for festival-goers that in 2016, it achieved record attendance for three of its events: Adelaide Fringe, WOMADelaide and the Adelaide Festival.
When researching where you’d like to live, study or holiday, be sure to put South Australia’s capital on your list, and here are some excellent reasons why.
March in Adelaide is either a dream come true or a FOMO nightmare! For those who love to get out and about and explore all things cultural, there is almost too much on in March which is why the third month is often referred to as ‘March Madness’ or ‘Mad March’.
Internationally renowned as one of the best open-access arts festivals anywhere in the world, Adelaide Fringe invites anyone to perform! It runs for an entire month and features over 5,000 artists, 11,000 events and countless venues. You might go along to a comedy gig in a warehouse one night, a laneway salsa party on a Saturday and ballet in an abandoned building on a Sunday morning. You might choose puppetry, a magic act and international cabaret. Or, you might prefer physical theatre, a pub band, an exhibition in an art gallery or a poet doing a reading in a café. Whatever you do, check the calendar well in advance as many events sell out fast.
A multi-arts festival, it features classical and contemporary music, opera, dance, literature, visual art, theatre and new media. Most events are held in the North Terrace cultural precinct but some may be held in the parklands or elsewhere in the city. You may see experimental theatre and serious opera, hear exquisite chamber music or the choral strains of a 600-year-old monastery choir. Some of the world’s great names perform there including famous ballerinas, mezzo sopranos, tenors and violinists.
This Adelaide-specific spin-off of the WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) international arts festival founded by rock musician Peter Gabriel runs for four days over the march long weekend. Considered the most culturally diverse festival in Australia, WOMADelaide showcases some of the world’s best musicians, DJs, visual artists and dancers from both traditional and contemporary stables. You won’t go hungry because there are scores of food stalls as well as charity and retail stalls. Set in Botanic Park, it’s all outdoors and offers something for everyone, of all ages and tastes.
The third largest LGBTIQ festival in Australia, Feast is a kaleidoscopic rainbow of entertainment and inclusivity. Fluff up your feather boa, add a lick of lipstick, slip on the stilettos and get on down for cabaret, music, comedy, theatre and so much more. Every year, the event attracts big names – think Dannii Minogue, Kylie Minogue, Conchita Wurst, Gamble Breaux – and for 16 days, you’ll have in excess of 70 events to choose from. Feast is about celebrating pride and diversity. It’s a family-friendly and pet-friendly event.
Set in a lush, verdant vineyard, Handpicked Festival is a family-run event that welcomes more than 4,000 people. Eats and treats are provided by the 20 food trucks that roll in and the wine is from the vineyard itself. The acts are both famous and relative unknowns, and the music washes over the audience, splayed out on picnic rugs in the sunshine. Stallholders gather to show off their handmade goods which are available for purchase. The day is relaxing, rejuvenating and special, the comparatively small crowd making for a comfortable event for all. Dance, chill, eat, drink and share the love.
The Adelaide 500 is Australia’s biggest domestic motorsport event and hosts the opening round of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship. Over four days, you’ll get to hear the big diesel engines of the ECB Superutes as they race around the track and feast your eyes and ears upon the Touring Car Masters, packing spectacular muscle and grunt. Charity luncheons with Supercar drivers are up for grabs and there are also driver autograph sessions. Don’t miss the exotic vehicle displays and the family will have lots of fun on the sideshow amusements. Overhead is the breathtaking Australian Defence Force air display with military aircraft showing off its might.
South Australia is known for its motorsports cred and this festival re-enacts the high-octane competitions of years gone by. A scaled-down version of the Adelaide Grand Prix racetrack is the setting for a race where the vehicles race against the clock. There’s also the Classic Adelaide Rally event which takes 150 competitor cars along a 550-kilometre tarmac route from Victoria Park and back again. See motor racing superstars going through their paces, view some of the world’s fastest race cars up close and check out the hundreds of rare and classic automobiles displayed by passionate owners. You can even stand by as drag car engines are started up. Live music, great food and plenty of sunshine make this an event you’ll definitely have to put on the calendar.
It’s the largest single-day parade in the southern hemisphere, second in the world only to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York! This free, family-friendly event makes its way 3.35 kilometres down King William Street in the City and features more than 60 floats, 260 clowns and 170 moving performing sets. Of course, there’s Santa in his sleigh as well as twirling dancers, marching bands, a London bus and loveable children’s characters. It starts at 9.30am but you’ll need to get there early to score a great vantage point.