Known around Australia as the Festival State (you’ll even find it emblazoned on car license plates!), South Australia definitely lives up to its reputation. Every month, events celebrating arts, culture, music, food, sports, history, and more pop up around the state. Festivals in SA outsell the rest of Australia’s, leading in ticket sales, revenue and attendance. These can range from month-long marathons, like the world-famous Adelaide Fringe Festival, to smaller-scale, weekend-only events, like the Adelaide Beer & BBQ Festival, to the annual CheeseFest+FERMENT food extravaganza. Let’s guide you through just a taste of what Adelaide’s festival scene has to offer.
*Note: Due to circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, certain festivals may be rescheduled or cancelled. Keep up-to-date on announcements via the festival’s website or social media profiles.
The famous Adelaide Fringe is the second-biggest annual arts festival in the world, packed with theatre, comedy, circus and more. The festival spreads out across the entire city and even out into regional areas – it’s a month-long statewide party! During Fringe-time, you’ll hear a lot about the Garden of Unearthly Delights, a circus-like space packed with performances, food stalls and amusement rides, but make sure to check out smaller venues to support up-and-coming performers.
Running concurrently with the Adelaide Fringe is the Adelaide Festival, which in 2020 celebrated its 60th year. The Festival comprises international opera, theatre, cabaret, classical and contemporary music events.
Superloop Adelaide 500
The Superloop Adelaide 500 features six categories of car and truck racing, as well as concerts, food, displays and activities – you’ll be able to hear the races echoing throughout the CBD. If you’re not too excited by the idea of cars racing around a track, definitely check out the musical performances each night – you can buy a seperate ticket for those, and recent international acts have includes the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Robbie Williams, as well as local Adelaide stars, The Hilltop Hoods.
WOMADelaide (a.k.a. WOMAD) is an open-air festival celebrating the World Of Music, Arts & Dance held in Adelaide’s beautiful Botanic Park. Over four days, this colourful, laid-back festival is packed with performances, incredible international food stalls and interactive art pieces.
Tasting Australia is a festival dedicated to eating and drinking, showcasing the best of South Australia’s local produce and culinary artists. If you’re keen to improve your kitchen skills, you will find a range of workshops available for any budget to help you on your Masterchef path. Otherwise, laze the day away with long lunches and delectable dinners cooked up by some of the world’s best chefs.
South Australia’s History Festival
South Australia’s History Festival is an event exploring the state’s rich Aboriginal and migrant history, with walks, talks, exhibitions and workshops. It’s the perfect opportunity for you to learn more about your adopted city, and appreciate the state’s diverse history.
Adelaide Cabaret Festival
If you love music, then this festival is for you. The Adelaide Cabaret Festival is the world’s biggest cabaret festival and brings some highly unusual and spectacular performances to Adelaide. 2021 welcomes the Festival’s first international Artistic Director – actor, comedian, singer, writer, filmmaker, author, Broadway and cabaret performer, Alan Cumming.
Adelaide’s Anime and Video Games Festival, AVCon features the largest cosplay competition in the state, video game tournaments, screenings and a number of stallholders. If you’re a keen collector, you’ll find people selling everything from rare Funko Pops to a range of cosplay gear.
South Australian Living Arts (SALA) Festival
SALA is a state-wide celebration of visual art turns a range of unique venues, like hairdressing salons, into temporary art galleries. This makes SALA the perfect opportunity to keep a camera handy and take souvenir snaps of you exploring Adelaide’s arty side.
Royal Adelaide Show
South Australia’s longest running event, the ‘Show’ includes carnival rides, petting zoos and fireworks each night. At the Show you’ll also find the famous ‘showbags’ – goodie bags of merchandise, for everything from Rick & Morty and Marvel superheroes, to the famous Adelaide Fruchocs, and local cheeses.
OzAsia Festival features music, art and theatre from across the Asian continent. Along the riverbank, you’ll also find the Lucky Dumpling Market, a garden area packed with food stalls serving everything from dumplings (obviously!), to bubble tea and mochi doughnuts. There are also free, live performances on throughout the day. Another highlight is the festivals Moon Lantern Parade, but get there early to secure a spot – it gets busy quickly!
What will it cost?
Each festival offers tickets that will suit every budget. Some of the smaller events offer free entry, while more expensive events will usually have student discounts on tickets.