Good things come in small packages, right? With a population of around 1.3 million, Adelaide is relatively sparse – which is especially good in February and March. This is festival season, when the city casts aside its quiet reputation to party during what locals have tagged Mad March. It’s the time of arts and music from Adelaide Festival, WOMADelaide and Adelaide Fringe.
On warm autumn nights the events take over the city, bringing world-class entertainment to flagship venues such as Adelaide Festival Centre and established theatres, bars, hotels and cafes, spilling out into pop-up venues in parks, warehouses, laneways and empty buildings. Adelaide Festival presents a curated mix of theatre, music, dance, writers and visual arts, and has attracted the likes of Sylvie Guillem, Marlene Dietrich, Allen Ginsberg, Isabelle Huppert, Schaubühne Berlin, Yehudi Menuhin, Nina Simone, Jane Birkin and Malcolm McLaren.
Nipping at its heels each year is Adelaide Fringe, a festival that’s very much uncurated and renowned for spontaneity and fun. Local and international artists present everything from cabaret to comedy, with circus, dance, film, theatre, music and visual art. The program is huge and can be difficult to navigate, so hit the free stage in Rundle Mall to get some show ideas.
Meanwhile, the beautiful Botanic Park hosts WOMADelaide, a four-day journey of music, art and dance from across the globe. With a friendly vibe and a diverse line-up and audience, families with children are also welcome.
Adelaide’s festivals spread throughout the city, with hot spots of Rundle Street, Hindley Street, Rymill Park, Botanic Park, Victoria Square and the Riverbank Precinct.