Eat, drink, dance and be merry at one of Adelaide’s many vibrant festivals.
Adelaide is known as Australia’s Festival City thanks to its calendar of standout events. From festivals featuring music and art to flagship food and wine festivals and hybrid formats that celebrate all of the above, here are 10 Adelaide festivals that will brighten your days and nights.
This boutique counter-cultural festival, which first popped up in a grungy back alley in Melbourne in 2004, encourages up-and-coming and established musicians – from psycho-rock guitar bands to top-shelf electro DJS — to reclaim the streets of Radelaide. Expect alt acts such as the Pist Idiots, Ocean Alley, Tones and I and Spacey Jane to find their groove at the festival, traditionally held in the historic Hart’s Mill precinct in Port Adelaide.
Expect to gasp and giggle your way around the annual Adelaide Fringe Festival, where the kaleidoscopic program ranges from grungy, visceral theatre to circus, visual arts, comedy, classical and contemporary music, workshops and more. All up, there are about 6000 artists performing everything from across 300 venues all over South Australia. Rove through the festival and you will delight at everything from drumming circles to family puppet shows, physical theatre and Indigenous dance.
High up on many a foodie’s bucket list, Tasting Australia has evolved to become Australia’s premier eating and drinking festival, with fabulous food and wine, hands-on workshops, exclusive dinners and inspired feasts. As well as reflecting the diverse cultural heritage of Adelaide’s citizens, the indulgent 10-day adventure will also be your passport to farm tours and tastings and long-table lunches that celebrate the talents of local chefs, winemakers and producers.
The South Australian capital is transformed each year for WOMADelaide, which draws thousands to appreciate its richly varied program of music, aerial theatre, dance, film, art and culture. The annual festival, which has been celebrating cultural and creative diversity since its inception in 1992, is traditionally held across seven stages in Botanic Park. WOMADelaide is one of six WOMAD festivals that are part of a global circuit.
This annual autumn musical festival has established itself as one of the classical Aussie music events. Expect acts such as Ruby Fields, Lime Cordiale, G Flip and Hockey Dad to headline at the festival which is as much about wearing eye-popping and out-there outfits as it is about groovin’ with your moo crew to gigs ranging from electronic to indie rock. The festival is traditionally held in Adelaide Showground.
The Adelaide Beer & BBQ Festival draws together a varied guest list of beer and barbecue vendors who take up residence at Adelaide Showground each year for the annual event. With more than 100 brewers, cideries, distillers and winemakers in attendance you can enjoy a tutored tasting or two and then make a beeline for the best looking barbecue ribs. The three-day festival also features live music.
Let the good times roll at Adelaide Festival, which marked its 60th anniversary in 2020. Enjoy an eclectic line-up of dance theatre, contemporary and classical music, striking visual arts displays and award-winning writers at the Adelaide Writers’ Week event, which falls under the festival’s umbrella. Adelaide comes alive for the festival, which provides a platform for emerging artists and commissions innovative new works.
Cue your jazz hands for the largest cabaret festival in the world. Conceptualised in 2001, the Adelaide Cabaret Festival shines the spotlight on creative excellence, highlighting the best local, national and – where possible – international artists through a dynamic program of boundary-pushing performances to suit all ages.
What better way to sample world-class South Australian wines than under the one roof at Cellar Door Fest, which brings together some of the State’s best wineries, breweries and distilleries for this annual three-day event. Taste South Australian Grenache from Yalumba, sip on big, bold reds from the Barossa and combine cheese and cider at the festival, which also features local musicians ranging from fiddle-forward folk rockers to indie artists.
The South Australian Living Arts Festival is one of the most vibrant arts events in Adelaide. Established in 1998 as a way to promote and pay homage to South Australian visual artists, the festival organisers continue to celebrate the diverse creative practises of SA artists with cutting-edge programs that keep the brain cells firing.
Adding colour to the festival are visual artists that use collage, assemblage, painting, photography and video to produce their works.
Planning a trip to Adelaide? Read more travel tips and itineraries in our Adelaide travel guide.