Adelaide Festival in Australia 2023 Festival of Arts

Adelaide Festival

The Adelaide Event of Arts, often known as the Adelaide Festival, is an annual arts festival held in the capital of South Australia, Adelaide, in March. It is a great festival of the arts and a significant cultural event in Australia, beginning in 1960. The Festival is primarily held in the city centre and adjacent parklands, with specific sites in the inner suburbs and further afield. The Adelaide Festival Centre and River Torrens are traditionally at the heart of the Festival, with opening ceremonies held at Elder Park in the twenty-first century. It generally includes opera, theatre, dance, classical and contemporary music, cabaret, literature, visual art, and new media, among other things.

The Festival includes WOMADelaide, a four-day international music festival, and Adelaide Writers’ Week, a literary festival. The Festival of Arts began as a biannual event, co-located with the (unofficial) Adelaide Fringe; the Fringe has been held yearly since 2007, with the Festival of Arts following suit a few years later in 2012. Locals refer to this potential time of year as “Mad March” because of all of these events and the additional tourists, activities, and music performances provided by the Adelaide 500, a street-circuit motor-racing event. Interstate and international visitors flock to the event, which produced a gross expenditure of A$76.1 million for South Australia in 2018.


Sir Lloyd Dumas’ potential efforts in the late 1950s to organise a major arts festival that would attract world-class cultural displays to South Australia resulted in the Adelaide Festival. Sir Lloyd convened a meeting of notable members of Adelaide’s business, artistic, and government communities in 1958. It backed the idea of a festival akin to the Edinburgh International Festival, and the first Festival Board of Governors was constituted. When Sir Lloyd teamed up with John Bishop, Professor of Music at the University of Adelaide, the event began to shape. The Lord-Mayor and Adelaide City Council backed them up and a financial backup of £15,000. The Advertiser, the Bank of Adelaide, John Martin & Co., the Adelaide Steamship Company, and Kelvinator were among the early sponsors of the event.

Bishop oversaw the first Adelaide Festival of Arts, which took place from March 12 to March 26, 1960, with some help from Ian Hunter, the Artistic Director of the Edinburgh Festival. There were 105 concerts in all, encompassing nearly every facet of the arts. [requires citation] It also generated the Adelaide Fringe in its inaugural year, which has evolved to become the world’s largest Festival of its sort after the Edinburgh Fringe. 

From 2010 through 2014, the Samstag Museum and the Adelaide Worldwide produced an international contemporary visual arts programme. Ruth Mackenzie CBE was named the next festival director in March 2022, with Ruth Mackenzie CBE taking over in 2023. However, Armfield and Healy had already confirmed or organised most of the Festival’s main events. McKenzie has vast international experience, including serving as the director of the Holland Festival and the Manchester International Festival and supervising the 2012 London Olympics cultural programme, the London 2012 Festival 


The Adelaide Festival Company Act 1998 (AFC Act) created the Adelaide Festival Corporation as a statutory corporation reporting to the Minister for the Arts in 1998. Before the end of 2018, the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Arts and Culture department, was responsible for this and several other statutory entities (the SA Museum and the Art Gallery of SA) that had previously been under Arts SA jurisdiction. The minister is reported to by a governing board. Judy Potter was the chair as of March 2022. Artistic directors are appointed for one or more years on a set contract. Former CEO Elaine Chia stepped down in November 2021, and Kath M. Mainland took over in April 2022. A different director oversees writers’ Week.

More info: Canberra Music Festival

The Festival was awarded A$1.25 million in yearly financing for the next three years in June 2019 to enable it to “continue to attract significant performances and activities.” The Festival receives most of its funding from the government, but being a nonprofit organisation, it also draws individual donations from Australia and worldwide. Donations to the Festival climbed from roughly A$55,000 per year in 2017 to A$2 million in 2022 under the term of Neil Arm-field and Rachel Healy as co-artistic directors.

Fun Fact

When was the first Adelaide Festival Celebrated?

The first Adelaide Festival was Celebrated in 1970.

Dave P
Dave P
Be a little better today than yesterday.
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