Adelaide's Fringe Festival is a month-long extravaganza of artistic talent during which the city opens its arms to hundreds if not thousands of performers. It serves as a haven and proving ground for new and experienced performers alike. The month-long festival quite literally has an act to suit every appetite. There are elaborate semi-permanent staging arenas, venues of all shapes and sizes sprinkled throughout the city, and so much variety that it can actually be a little overwhelming. There is a veritable labyrinth of shows, ticket prices, and time slots to be navigated in order to get the most out of Fringe.
The real trouble isn't trying to find something that suits your interests, rather it's trying to stretch your budget the farthest. No one wants to go broke having fun, and at first glance it would seem the only possible result of attending nightly performances. Ticket prices can range anywhere from $10-80 for a single performance. For the majority of festival-goers some price-tags are sincere deal-breakers and that can come between you and the act that you so desperately want to see. In answer to this and in an effort to ensure that every artist has the opportunity to perform in front of a full audience, the Fringe coordinators have gone above and beyond to guarantee affordable ticket prices.
If you want to pack in as many performances as possible without breaking the bank then you have to try to take advantage of the Halftix. Somehow Halftix has largely gone unnoticed even by the Adelaide locals. Every day between 12pm and 3pm hundreds of tickets are sold at half their usual price. Every day they have a different line-up of discount tickets for same day performances. Taking advantage of this is how you will get to go to some of the more elusive and expensive productions. While same day purchasing makes it difficult to plan ahead it also makes it possible to see three performances in one night for the same price as a full fare ticket. There are two ways to take advantage of this, either online or in person.
The Halftix Box Office in Rundle Mall really only has one benefit and that is the ability to pay in cash thereby saving the 1.1% surcharge applied to all credit transactions. The downfall of the box office is that the white board with the shows listed gives no indication of what kind of performance it is, the times available for each show, or their location. It is much simpler to go to the Fringe website and select the Halftix option from the filter options — this option becomes available daily starting at noon and disappears at 3pm. Select the show, checkout, and pick up your tickets from any box office, self-serve portal located throughout the city, or at the performance venue.
Halftix along with Cheap Tuesday pricing (usually $5 or $10 off the full ticket) and the hundreds of absolutely free performances, installations, and events around Adelaide guarantee that there is always an affordable option. In addition, many of the performers are on the hustle and though they need money to eat they also need exposure to rise. This means that with a dash of luck and a spot of conversation you can almost always secure an inexpensive seat with the artist's permission. There is also the less pursued option of Fringe Membership which comes with a number of benefits including a special price for every single show. The yearly fee of $19.95 pays for itself within the first four shows making it a worthwhile expense even if only staying in the city for one week.
The main venues - the Garden of Unearthly Delights, Gluttony, and the Royal Croquet Club - always have free entry though showing a ticket will get you around any cue outside the gate. You could easily spend hours exploring the food-stalls, boutiques, and carnival games on offer at each of these venues, but be prepared to pay the price. Food and drink inside each staging point has the usual event mark-up and tends to be the biggest money-suck for most festival goers. If you have taken advantage of the discounted tickets this up-charge won't sting as much. However, you should be prepared to spend almost three times more on consumption than you did on the show itself.
If looking to save a little cash outside of the Fringe venues themselves you can collect Fringe Dollars from the copious look-books and festival schedules that are found by the hundreds either outside of the box offices or literally any store front and shop window in town. These can be cut out and turned in at participating restaurants and shops throughout the city for free items or discounted bills.
All in all the Fringe is a magnificent experience. The performers range from absolutely phenomenal to merely impressive and you are guaranteed to fall in love with at least one act. Combine savviness with dedication and over the course of a week you can easily pack in up to 14 shows with drinks and food for under $400 per person.
Cirque Africa available from 2 March - 19 March is an absolute must-see, especially with Halftix pricing.
Why? The Adelaide Fringe Festival is a once yearly gathering of performers and artists from around the world. These individuals are here to showcase their talents and to entertain us. There is absolutely no reason to miss out on this extraordinary festiva