Ask anyone – Fringe is the best time to be in Adelaide.
The Adelaide Fringe is the biggest arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere. For one month each year, South Australia plays host to 6000 independent artists across 300 venues, as they put on more than 1200 cabaret, theatre, comedy, circus, music and visual arts shows.
If you only have a few days to soak it all up though, don’t fret! This three-day itinerary is here to help you make the most of your Fringe experience.
And of course, it’s packed with theatre and wine!
Day – Explore the city
On your first day in Adelaide, find out which exhibitions and shows are on and travel by foot between them, so you get the added bonus of seeing this beautiful city. Hundreds of venues get into the festival spirit at Fringe time and many events are very affordable, or even free!
Make sure to stop into JamFactory, Adelaide’s creative arts hub, to see artists in residence at work making all sorts of incredible works, as well as venues such as Nexus Arts and MOD to see exhibitions by local artists and tech-based futuristic displays respectively. Aside from arty venues, you’ll find the works of many more artists in the city’s bars and shopping centres.
Night – Visit the Garden of Unearthly Delights
The evening is when the Adelaide Fringe really shines, so make the most of your first night by visiting the Garden of Unearthly Delights. The Garden is a hub of performance venues, food vans and bars as well as a maker’s market and carnival. Find a seat at the Hesketh Wine and Piano Bar for a pre-show drink and either use the online program to purchase tickets for a show or two in advance or wait until the night to see what you’re in the mood for!
Day – Head out to wine country
South Australia has a reputation for excellent wines, particularly Shiraz in the reds and Chardonnay in the whites, so no trip to Adelaide is complete without a day of tastings in one of the nearby famous wine regions. McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills and Barossa Valley are all within an hour’s drive from Adelaide, while Clare Valley, and Coonawarra are between one and a half and four hours’ driving.
Night – Showtime
If the day drinking hasn’t worn you out too much, it’s time for your next show! Will it be comedy, cabaret, a musical or one-person show, interactive art or theatre installation or magic – good luck choosing just one.
I went for Gordon Southern’s comedy-theatre show That Boy Needs Therapy and Afghanistan Is Not Funny by Henry Naylor, stopping for a quick bite and delicious wine tasting at Good Gilbert – it’s a short drive out of the city but so worth it for their wine selection and sommelier.
Day – Catch up day
The Fringe program offers more than a thousand performances and events, which is great if you’re there for the whole month but a logistical nightmare when you only have a few days.
Fortunately, most shows offer multiple performances, so on your last day at Fringe, it’s time to catch up or experiment! Many theatres offer tickets for less than $30 and all proceeds go to furthering Fringe and its performers. What better reason to try an unfamiliar genre or actor, or intriguing-sounding event while you can?
Night – Treat your tastebuds at Gluttony
There’s no better way to finish a weekend at the Adelaide Fringe than at Gluttony, the festival’s haven for foodies. Sitting by the lake under twinkling fairy lights, surrounded by stalls offering gourmet ice cream, doughnuts as big as your head, locally produced wine and a whole slew of venues with even more amazing Fringe shows make Gluttony my favourite way to finish off the trip.
And that’s it! Make sure you get to experience Fringe ’22 before the festival wraps on March 20.