What's on in Adelaide

South Australia is widely known as Australia's 'Festival State'.

There's always something on.

While any time is a good time to visit South Australia, the year has high points that will maximise every moment of your holiday. If you love music, comedy, dance, theatre and all forms of performance creativity, you'll want to be in Adelaide in festival month - March. If you enjoy the snarl of supercars, catch the Adelaide 500. And if food and wine are your key motivations for travel, Tasting Australia in April will hit the spot nicely. South Australia festivals benefit hugely from the state's average of 2,500 sunshine hours a year.

Santos Tour Down Under

It's Australia's 'Tour de France', but without the France. Nine action-packed days of world-class cycling, street parties, gala dinners and excitement. There's no lack of lycra in this Adelaide bike race, usually held in January, because more riders join the tour every year.

Adelaide 500

Street racing at its best, the Adelaide 500 happens in early March. It consists of two 250km races and the results count towards the V8 Supercars Championship. There's always a degree of Kiwi-Australian rivalry with these races, which makes the action even more watchable. The compactness of Adelaide makes this event incredibly accessible. You can walk from your hotel to the viewing areas and party at the after-race concerts or vibrant laneway bars and cafés.

Adelaide Festival

Events in Adelaide sometimes double up, for twice the fun. The Adelaide Festival overlaps with the Adelaide Fringe Festival for the first two weeks of March, doubling the fun in the city. It's packed with internationally acclaimed theatre productions, performances by world-class musicians, spectacular dance pieces, renowned writers and striking visual arts displays. The days are warm and bright, the nights are starry and clear, and you'll have the cultural time of your life.

The Adelaide Fringe Festival was born in 1960 (though it doesn't look a day over 25) to celebrate all things mythical, magical and fantabulous.

Adelaide Fringe Festival

For a whole month - from mid-February to mid-March - Adelaide goes a little crazy with the Fringe Festival. It was born in 1960 (though it doesn't look a day over 25) to celebrate all things mythical, magical and fantabulous. There's music, miming, juggling, circus, theatre, acrobatics, cabaret, comedy, singing, dancing, burlesque and almost every other kind of human performance expression you can dream up. You won't be bored, even for a nano-second.

Tasting Australia

In April, food and wine are on the Adelaide events menu big time. Tasting Australia is a paddock-to-plate celebration of food heroes and flavour combinations. It's held over eight days and encompasses every food-oriented region of South Australia - from Adelaide and Barossa to Kangaroo Island and the Flinders Ranges. As well as an appetite for deliciousness, you'll need a hire car. Stretchy clothes might also be a good idea for this food festival, because you have to leave room for dessert.

Winter Reds Festival

Every year the Adelaide Hills wine region hosts an event that’s devoted to the joy of cosy conversations, roaring open fires, slow-cooked food, and smooth, silky red wines. It’s called the Winter Reds Festival and it’s held over a long weekend at the end of July.

WOMADelaide

Held on the middle weekend in March, while the Adelaide Festival is on, WOMADelaide presents the World Of Music, Arts and Dance from around the globe. Its venue is the magnificent inner city Botanic Park and performances are spread across seven outdoor stages. There's also a programme of workshop activities and talks, for those who want to develop their creativity and grow their knowledge. Every year the WOMADelaide lineup changes, so keep an eye on their website.

Adelaide Guitar Festival

Held every two years, the Adelaide Guitar Festival celebrates the world's most popular instrument. Its concert programme spans rock, jazz, folk, classical, experimental, blues and roots music. Watch the web for news of the next guitar festival.

CheeseFest + Ferment

Once it was simply CheeseFest, but now this event is also a celebration of all things fermented (including wine, beer and gin!). Held at pretty Rymill Park in the centre of Adelaide in late October, CheeseFest + Ferment is a wonderful reason to book a holiday to South Australia. There are tasting stalls, pop-up eateries, masterclasses, workshops and demonstrations galore.

Coonawarra Cabernet Celebrations

For the whole of October, the Coonawarra wine region (four hours’ drive south of Adelaide) turns on the country hospitality to pay homage to the joy of cabernet. There’s a whole calendar of wine-tinted events, including brunches, lunches, dinners, Sunday sessions and masterclasses.  

CRUSH Adelaide Hills Wine & Food Festival

The end of January is hot and dry in South Australia, so it’s a grand time to head to the cooler climes of the Adelaide Hills for CRUSH, a sensory explosion of wines, regional produce, rustic music, art and theatre. General entry to CRUSH is free.

Barossa Seasons gourmet weekends

They really know how to welcome each new season in the Barossa Valley. It involves wine, food, music and laughter. There’s a Barossa Seasons gourmet weekend at the start of summer, autumn, winter and spring. Weekend events are described in detail on the barossagourmet.com website.

Other food and wine festivals to check out:

  • Adelaide French Festival: A celebration of Frenchness - music, film, art, food and fashion. Held at the Adelaide Festival Centre in January.
  • McLaren Vale Sea & Vines: A long weekend in June that’s all about the happy partnership of seafood and wine.
  • Taste the Limestone Coast Festival: The town of Naracoorte invites you to enjoy live music, wonderful food and divine wines. Held over four days in February.
  • Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend: Local wine and food, art and music, country hospitality - a delicious combination for a merry May.
  • Ceduna Oysterfest: Raise a glass to oysters, and all the delicious things that go with them. The annual Ceduna Oysterfest is an Eyre Peninsula tradition that happens in September.
  • Barossa Vintage Festival: Four days of wine fun in April. This festival dates back to 1947, so they really know how to get it right.
Start planning your trip to Adelaide

Keep exploring Adelaide