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Festival Season for the Frugal

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Get more bang for your buck @ the Adelaide Festival & Fringe
The Adelaide Fringe and Adelaide Festival come to town during the months of Frantic February and Mad March. Without any exaggeration, there are over 1000 shows to be seen and while it may be an exciting time to be in Adelaide, it can also be very expensive. Luckily, there are lots of thrifty ways to experience the festival season.

Let's start with the Adelaide Fringe, which is on from Friday, February 14 to Sunday, March 16, 2014 and is probably the most budget-friendly of the arts festivals. It kicks off with the Opening Night Parade, a huge free street parade and party along King William Street with entertainment from 7 pm.

If you're in Rundle Mall during the Fringe, you'll be able to get a taste of what's on offer with Fringe in the Mall. Or climb aboard the Fringe Free Bus, which traverses the city from 8 pm until midnight on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. You'll be able to meet some of the performers and learn more about the Fringe.

It's free entry into the Garden of Unearthly Delights, which is open every day and is host to a smorgasbord of fascinating things to see and do. Some things are free, some are asking top dollar, and others (like the wacky sideshows) cost very little. If you're in the right place at the right time, you might even be able to score some cheap last minute deals.

The free BankSA Concert Series and Garden Sessions take place in the Garden of Unearthly Delights. The BankSA Concert Series is on at 5.30 pm every Thursday to Sunday and showcases some popular Fringe acts. The Garden Sessions is on at 2.30 pm every Saturday and Sunday and delivers home-grown musical acts for you to savour. Everything you need to know can be found at the Garden of Unearthly Delights website.

Travelling into town can be an additional expense for many, but it doesn't matter if you're not centrally located because the Fringe is travelling far and wide to be more accessible. Check out the Salisbury Secret Garden or head to the Fringe in Goolwa for some fun, free, and family-friendly performances. It's on Sunday, March 9 from 10.30 am until 1.30 pm at Jaralde Park at the Goolwa Wharf. The Fringe is also en route to Port Augusta with a line-up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and internationally renowned performances. Desert Fringe is on Friday, March 14, and Saturday, March 15 at the Port Augusta Cultural Centre and the Eastside Foreshore.

As you can see, there are heaps of Free Events at the Adelaide Fringe including markets, music, and miscellaneous mayhem, but there are a few other ways to save some cash at the Fringe. Half price tickets to selected shows are offered each day from 12 noon until 3 pm and BankSA customers can receive special discounts too. Those aged between 18 and 30 years can register for free for Fringe Benefits to receive cheap tickets.

If you have neither youth nor BankSA on your side, then look closely at the Fringe guide because there are $10 Support Act tickets available to some shows, while others offer Cheap Tuesday prices. Plus there are savings to be made for groups and families. You'll find all the details at the Adelaide Fringe website.

Meanwhile, the Adelaide Festival is on from Friday, February 28 until Sunday, March 16, 2014 and it's considered one of the world's best arts events. Though it's slightly less fantastic for those on a budget, there's still some great Free Events at the Adelaide Festival to attend, including Visual Arts exhibitions, readings as part of Writers' Week, and activities for children, like Dig It @ the Museum.

One event not to be missed is the massive free Opening Night Party with a concert featuring Charles Bradley, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, and a fireworks display. It's held in Elder Park on Friday, February 28 at 8 pm.

If it's a party you're after then Lola's Pergola is the place to be and, best of all, entry is free before 8 pm. It's a place of dining and dancing where Festival-goers can mix and mingle into the wee hours of the morning (the Barrio of Festivals past). Lola's Pergola is open from 6 pm onward every Thursday to Sunday night on the Torrens Riverbank and after 8 pm entry costs $5.

Have a flick through the Festival program and you'll see there are a few other ways you can save. Look out for cheap tickets to preview nights, use your Fringe Benefits (if applicable), and take advantage of the group discount offered at many performances the more, the merrier after all. Discounts are also available to GreenRoom members and Friends of the Festival. Check out the Adelaide Festival website for further information.

Finally, if you only see one show make it one that offers exceptional value, like the Sammy D Comedy Gala. It's the biggest fundraising event of the year for the Sammy D Foundation and your hard-earned dollars will benefit their youth mentoring and education programs. The Comedy Gala is hosted by Damian Callinan and Mickey D and you'll get three hours of laughs from a swag of celebrated comedians. It's on Sunday, February 23 at 1.30 pm at the Adelaide Town Hall. Tickets cost $48 and can be purchased from the Adelaide Fringe website.

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Why? Enjoy the Fringe & Festival without breaking the bank
When: February & March 2014
Where: At venues around Adelaide
Cost: Ranges from free to cheap
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