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Celebrate Creativity at Adelaide Fringe Festival A Guide

Celebrate Creativity at Adelaide Fringe Festival: A Guide

The Adelaide Fringe Festival is the largest arts festival in the southern hemisphere. It’s a festival of all things fun, creative, and fresh!

I’m proud to say we have some of the zaniest shows in Australia!

I’ve created a guide on what you should expect if you’re participating in the Adelaide Fringe Festival. Whether you’re a tourist or a local, I’m sure you’ll learn a thing or two here that can make your festival experience something to remember!

What is the Adelaide Fringe Festival?

The Adelaide Fringe Festival is a month-long celebration of local creativity. Here, professionals and amateurs share a big stage to showcase the talents of our city.

We hold the Adelaide Fringe Festival yearly, starting in mid-February and ending in March. The month-long celebration is visited by over 7,000 artists and over two million people annually!

The key to truly experiencing the festival is to keep an open mind. Every act is unique, from street dances to cabaret performances to standup comedy!

Where are fringe festivals held in Australia?
Fringe festivals are held all over Australia in cities like Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne, and Sydney. 
In Adelaide, fringe shows are performed in many locations such as Rundle Mall, Victoria Square, and the Adelaide Botanic Gardens.
The brightest and most energetic venues for the 2023 Adelaide Fringe were the Garden of Unearthly Delights at Rundle Park and Wonderland Festival Square at Hindmarsh.

How do you buy tickets for the Adelaide Fringe Festival?

For the Adelaide Fringe Festival in 2023, tickets were sold through QR codes in the Adelaide Fringe Guide. It was very convenient, as I could pay and present my ticket with just my phone.

Before buying a ticket, know that there are special discounts available:

Discounted ticketsFor who
Concession Full-time students, senior card holders, those aged 17 years and below, 
ChildFor those 2 to 12 years of age
FamilyFor 2 adults and 2 children or 1 adult and 3 children
Fringe MembersFringe Fanatic Members can get 2 tickets for 1 show, limited to up to 5 shows 

A complete list of all the shows for Adelaide Fringe can be seen here.

Is the Adelaide Fringe Festival accessible?
The Adelaide Fringe Festival has an impressive set-up that makes it disabled-friendly and convenient to visit for anyone. Most venues have
Step-free entrancesAudio descriptionInterpretations for ESL audiences

What to Do in the Adelaide Fringe Festival

The beauty of the Adelaide Fringe Festival is that there is much to do during its duration. I’ve compiled some of the activities that are big hits among locals and tourists alike.

Celebrate the beginning of the festival

The festival starts with a big bang. The ceremony is filled with many free events and activities; most are family-friendly.

You’ll see the ambassadors of the festival decked in their colorful outfits as they give heartfelt speeches during the opening show. Some notable ambassadors include television personality Courtney Act, actor Hugh Sheridan, and singer Amanda Palmer.

The first date of the festival also showcases the rich indigenous talent of Adelaide. In 2023, Torres Strait Island and Aboriginal elders participated and performed.

East End also transforms into a lively and music-filled street by the start of Fringe! It’s the perfect place to show off your dancing skills and groove through the night.

Pro tip: Wear something colorful for the event! With lots of popping colors and striking patterns in the crowd, a simple outfit won’t cut it! 

Stop by the different fringe venues

The creativity of Adelaide Fringe can’t be contained in one venue. You’ll have to hop around different spots to watch different shows!

I highly advise you to have a copy of the Adelaide Fringe Guide on your device to avoid getting lost. Keeping up with the different drag shows, cabaret performances, and art exhibits can be overwhelming, after all!

Some of the typical venues for performers of Adelaide Fringe are

  • Gluttony at East Terrace
  • The Warehouse Theater
  • Nineteen Ten at Hindley Street
  • The Jade at Flinders Street
  • Adelaide Botanic Gardens
Pro tip: You don’t need to print the tickets for the shows! Just scan the QR code and present your ticket before watching one. 

Marvel at the different lights shows

Lights shows are always a treat no matter your age. Seeing lights dazzle in sync with music during the night is very magical and awe-inspiring!

Electric Skies is a regular lights show featuring 500 drones forming different figures over Victoria Park. What makes it especially great is that it mixes First Nations Language and traditional music, making it a great reflection of our culture!

Another lights show I enjoyed is Yabarra – Gathering of Light, which provided a thrilling experience of Kaurna culture and history. 

Seeing the pathway illuminated using innovative technology and music made it feel very immersive. 

Pro tip: Bring a blanket with you, as you’ll be lying on the grass to watch the show. Don’t forget to bring snacks to munch on! 

Stroll the streets

There’s no need to rush through Adelaide Fringe. Take some time to stroll and wander through the bright streets of the city during the festival. 

From K-pop cover dancers, clowns, mimes, and buskers, the street performers bring a fun mood to the festival. It’s basically a big party!

The streets are also filled with some of the kookiest performances. My jaw dropped upon seeing an escape artist free his way out of chains in broad daylight! 

I also noticed that the performers were very open to audience participation! Kids, in particular, will have fun popping bubbles in bubble shows and volunteering for magic shows

The best part: you get to see them for free! Don’t forget to tip the performers you love the most! 

Pro tip: A friendly cheer or two will do wonders for the performers’ nerves!

Grab some food

Of course, don’t forget to grab a bite and drink some of Adelaide’s fine wines during the event. Watching the shows with a bit of a flush on my cheeks made the experience more fun for me! 

I highly recommend you try our local burgers and fries. They’re hearty, savory, and easy to carry around; buying one is a no-brainer!

Gluttony at Rymill Park had many food vendors and pop-up bars ready for the event. Their menu took inspiration from cuisines from all over the world, so my food palate was never bored throughout the festival.

I suggest you visit the area if you’re hungry, mainly because it’s where many performers do their shows.

Watch some of the regular shows

Many shows in Adelaide Fringe have been in high demand for years! These acts are much-awaited by visitors yearly, so you know they’re worth your time!

1. Music and Comedy – Paul McDermott

Paul McDermott is a chaotic musical genius in the best way possible. With over 40 years in the industry and hundreds of sold-out shows, watching one of his shows is always a blast.

There’s something in his humor that is cutting deep yet heartfelt at the same time. With his fantastic singing voice and comedic songs, his performances are always great to watch.

2. Children’s Puppet Show – Bunkasaurus

Bunkasaurus is as bonkers as its title. Featuring aliens, clowns, trolls, and puppets, the show is a great hit for audiences of all ages! 

There’s a charm to its simplicity and its storyline that makes it perfect for the family. No wonder the show won the Kids and Family Award for 2023!

3. Standup Comedy – Diana Nguyen

Diana Nguyen is an unstoppable comedic star with excellent command of the audience. Her charm is simply irresistible from her first line down to the last!

The intimacy and vulnerability in her stories make her show all the more captivating. Hearing such a personal side of her in a witty and funny way made the experience one I’ll remember for a long time. 

4. Magic Show – The Purple Rabbit

The Purple Rabbit is a masterclass of mischief and magic! Every trick in the book was made more entertaining with a little nudge and wink from the performers, which I found highly refreshing.

Their polished acrobatic performance gave me chills, as they do so with a swagger only a true pro has! With high production value and mischievous music, the show is not one to miss! 

5. Musical – ORPHEUS

Orpheus is a dazzling modern retelling of the classic Greek tale, mixing ancient gods with Bruce Springsteen and dive bars. It’s the perfect show for musical theater nerds, movie theatre regulars, and classic rock enthusiasts!

I found it amazing how they mixed spoken word pieces with catchy melodies to make every moment entertaining. After watching their show at the 2023 fringe festival, it was easy to see why they’ve toured the show in New Zealand, New York, the UK, and more!

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