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Why is Adelaide the Festival Capital of Australia?

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by Michael Genrich (subscribe)
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Published February 10th 2020
adelaide, festival, australia, south australia, food, wine, fringe
The Outdoor Artists. CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

South Australia has long been known as the festival state but why is that so?

adelaide, festival, australia, south australia, food, wine, fringe
Image courtesy Ozasia Festival Instagram

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that it's because Adelaide is relatively compact. It's easy to get around town and festivals make a real difference to the life of the city. SA is a bit of a city-state after all. The state population is around 1.6 million people and Adelaide is home to 1.3 million of them.

Let's look at some of the other reasons why Adelaide is known as the festival capital of Australia.

Accessibility

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User:Orderinchaos [CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)

It's an accessible city. Largely flat and well planned; there's plenty of public transport including trains, trams and buses.

Adelaide was designed with a ring route around the city and most of the inner city was laid out in a grid pattern. Adelaide airport is unique in that it is only about a fifteen-minute drive from the city.

Head north, south (or south-east), out of the city for twenty minutes or so and you'll find free-flowing motorways as you head for any of the awesome country locations or venues nearby. Except if you head west, where the beach is only 20 minutes from the city anyway and well connected by road, rail and the Glenelg tram line.

Head east or northeast out of the city and you'll soon find yourself winding through the deep gorges and green gullies of the charming Adelaide Hills region.

Parks and gardens

Peripitus - Public domain

The CBD is surrounded by the wide-open spaces of the Adelaide parklands. These revered parklands are protected by law and provide heaps of event spaces for partying yet they retain plenty of quiet and peaceful spaces for some downtime.

There are five squares in the Adelaide CBD. Victoria, Light, Whitmore, Hindmarsh, and Hurtle Square. All are shady green splashes that are perfect for a stroll or taking a lunch break. They also host plenty of pop-up events too, like Music in the Square this March in Hindmarsh Square.

Arts culture

adelaide, festival, australia, south australia, food, wine, fringe
Image courtesy Adelaide Festival Instagram

Adelaide has a long and proud cultural history with arts culture embedded in many things we do. The Adelaide Festival commenced in 1960. This amazing festival has been outgrown over the years by the Fringe Festival, which is now the world's second largest annual arts festival.

Hospitality

adelaide, festival, australia, south australia, food, wine, fringe
User:Orderinchaos [CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)

You'll be spoilt for choice of accommodation, food and wine in Adelaide and surrounds. Choose from an abundance of accommodation ranging from six-star accommodation in the city, hotels, motels, camping, glamping and caravan parks, to country cabins and B and B's only 30 minutes from the heart of the city.

Some of Australia's best restaurants have made their mark in Adelaide, including Restaurant Orana, Sean's Kitchen and many others. There's plenty of hardworking Adelaide restaurants and cafes making amazing things from SA's clean and green produce, like The Publishers Hotel, or Banksia Tree Cafe and Long Lost Friend. You'll be amazed and satisfied with many excellent restaurants around Adelaide.

adelaide, festival, australia, south australia, food, wine, fringe
Publishers Hotel - Franklin Street

Mad March

adelaide, festival, australia, south australia, food, wine, fringe
The Garden of Unearthly Delights

March is at the centre of Adelaide's festival calendar. We call it 'Mad March'. Three massive festivals all take place in March - the Adelaide Festival, Fringe Festival and WOMADelaide. Some years will also see the ever-growing Writers Week, Tasting Australia and the Superloop 500 four-day motorsport festival crammed in there too. The city goes crazy as tens of thousands of visitors descending on it to take part in all the action. Check here to get an idea of the variety of events on offer.

Festivals all year round


It doesn't have to be summer weather in Adelaide to enjoy festivals either! Adelaide hosts festivals all year round. Tasting Australia sees the city into April and you can enjoy the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in winter. There are community festivals of all shapes, flavours and sizes all over town all year round. You could check out the beautiful Hahndorf Winter Lantern Festival or a community festival like the Thai Festival.

The regions

adelaide, festival, australia, south australia, food, wine, fringe
Barossa Sculpture Park - Mengler Hill

Adelaide is at the centre of a nearby web of vibrant regions like the world-famous Barossa Valley, Langhorne Creek, Fleurieu Peninsula, Adelaide Hills, the Murray River, Lakes and Coorong, Mid-North, Southern Flinders Ranges, Clare Valley… the list goes on. All within an hour or two's drive of the city, the regions host plenty of their own festivals including the Autumn Garden Festival in the Clare Valley and Barossa Gourmet Weekend.

Got any other reasons why Adelaide is the festival capital of Australia? Let us know in the comments!
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