7 of South Australia's best festivals

From comedy to live music and cycling races to motorsport, South Australia has some of the best festivals in the world. 7 of South Australia's best festivals
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7 of South Australia's best festivals

From comedy to live music and cycling races to motorsport, South Australia has some of the best festivals in the world.


By Marc Llewellyn

Adelaide is known as the festival capital of Australia for good reason. Internationally acclaimed festivals take place every year, and some of them spill out into the regions of South Australia, too.

Get into the festival spirit in Adelaide and South Australia

SANTOS TOUR DOWN UNDER

Australia’s premier road race and cycling festival, the Santos Tour Down Under, takes place over nine days across South Australia. It’s the first event in the UCI WorldTour calendar, which includes the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia. There are six stages, which take in some of South Australia’s most beautiful regions. These include the wine growing areas of the Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley, and McLaren Vale, as well as The Coorong – known for its saltwater lagoons, serene beaches and prolific birdlife. The tour ends in the heart of Adelaide. The festival includes a family ride and the Bupa Challenge Tour – a mass ride for amateurs.

Dates: 14 - 22 January 2017
 

ADELAIDE FRINGE FESTIVAL

For a whole riotous month the annual Adelaide Fringe Festival invades streets and venues across Adelaide. It’s billed as the largest festival in the Southern Hemisphere. As well as comedy and cabaret, there’s circus, dance, film, theatre, music, visual art and design on offer. Expect ground breaking entertainment (including free acts on the main pedestrian-only shopping strip of Rundle Mall). Don’t miss The Garden of Earthly Delights, an outdoor entertainment venue in Rundle Park that hosts show tents, food shacks and fairground rides. Fringe acts in 2017 include a tribute to the late great singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, a tattoo convention, circus skills from Cirque Africa and the Official Blues Brothers Revue.

Dates: 17 February - 19 March 2017
 

CLIPSAL 500 ADELAIDE

If you like supercar action on a street circuit then the Clipsal 500 Adelaide is for you. This annual motor racing festival takes place in Adelaide’s east end on part of the city’s former Formula One Australian Grand Prix circuit. Hundreds of thousands of spectators line the streets and fill stadiums to see the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Australian GT Championship, Touring Car Masters, the Porsche Carrera Cup, as well as races for Aussie racing cars, supertrucks, aspiring supercar drivers, and – for the first time in 2017 – everyday cars that have been modified to race.

Dates: 2 - 5 March 2017
 

ADELAIDE FESTIVAL

The annual Adelaide Festival has been one of the world’s biggest and best celebrations of the arts since it appeared on the cultural scene in 1960. It spans theatre, opera, music, dance, visual arts, installation, film and literature. Major events take place across the city centre, including in the city’s extensive parklands, on the banks of the River Torrens, and in many other venues. Some of the highlights in 2017 include a blistering rendition of Shakespeare’s Richard III and a rendition of Judy Garland's repertoire by Canadian singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright. The festival includes Adelaide Writers' Week, when authors from all over the world come to discuss their craft.

Dates: 3 - 19 March 2017
 

WOMADELAIDE

World music and dance is all the rage in Adelaide’s beautiful Botanic Park gardens during the annual WOMADelaide celebration. You can wander between the various stages, a market area, show tents, a KidZone and bars and food booths. It all makes for a relaxed, festival style atmosphere. Performance artists travel here from as far apart as Senegal and Colombia, and Austria and Jamaica. Highlights for 2017 include the 1980s British ska band The Specials, psychedelic rock'n’roll from Turkish group BaBa ZuLa and Mali's Grammy-award winning vocalist Oumou Sangaré.

Dates: 10 - 13 March 2017

TASTING AUSTRALIA

A smorgasbord of food and wine is waiting for you during the annual Tasting Australia festival, when restaurants and bars across the state rejoice in South Australia’s reputation for superb regional ingredients and outstanding local wines, beers and ciders. Foodie events take place everywhere from Kangaroo Island, known for its premium local food and incredible wildlife, to the craggy Flinders Ranges, with its authentic outback tucker. Other additions to the culinary map include the Limestone Coast and the Eyre Peninsula, which boast an array of fresh seafood and South Australia’s many wine growing regions.

Dates: 30 April - 7 May 2017
 

ADELAIDE CABARET FESTIVAL

With its eclectic program of contemporary and classic cabaret performances, the Adelaide Cabaret Festival is a hot date on the international arts calendar. It is held every year in the Adelaide Festival Centre on the banks of the River Torrens in the heart of Adelaide. The festival kicks off with a mighty two-night Variety Gala Performance featuring some of the best acts. A hot ticket in 2017 is the Adelaide premiere of Ancient Rain, when the words of the great Irish poets will be given new life by Irish singer Camille O’Sullivan and Australia’s own singer-songwriter Paul Kelly. Other Festival highlights include a unique Cabaret Dinner, a Family Gala and an extravagant wrap-up Closing Gala Performance. 

Dates: 9 - 24 June 2017

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