How To Nail 48 Hours At Australia’s Best Festival
If you’re one of those people who is always talking about going to the Adelaide Fringe Festival, but you’ve never actually managed to make it, then you really don’t know what you’re missing out on.
Now in it’s 60th year, the Adelaide Fringe is truly bigger and better than ever, with 1210 events by more than 7000 artists performed across 361 venues in the South Australian Capital. And unlike most festivals, the Fringe truly does take over the entire city. On its opening night earlier this month, the streets of Adelaide were closed to traffic so that locals and visitors could enjoy a city-wide street party full of great food, plentiful booze, and fantastic street performers on every corner.
Luckily, the Fringe is a month long, so there’s still time to book a sneaky weekend getaway to take in everything Australia’s best festival has to offer. And because we love you guys, we’ve taken the liberty of spending 48 hours in the City of Churches, so that we could find all the best places for you to stop by on your whirlwind visit.
What To See At The Adelaide Fringe
So, let’s start with the most important part: The shows. As we mentioned, there are hundreds of shows on every night, from the headline acts in the Spiegeltent to $7 shows in tiny corners of the Garden of Unearthly Delights, there’s no shortage of shows you can see at a moment’s notice — and we promise, even if the show is objectively terrible, you’ll still have a great time.
But if you only want the best, then you can’t go past Velvet Rewired. The all-singing, all-dancing cabaret circus show is a delight from start to finish. Anchored by DJ Joe Accaria and starring the ageless Marcia Hines, along with a cast of incredible acrobats and circus performers we guarantee you’ll be on your feet from start to finish. It undoubtedly one of the highlights of the Adelaide Fringe.
If you like your cabaret with a slightly more adult feel, then check out Rouge, the circus for grown ups. It’s funny, cheeky, a little bit naughty and entirely terrifying. And a warning (or maybe another reason to see it?): the show contains some full frontal male nudity.
And there are dozens of comedians performing every night at the Fringe, from household names like Dave Hughes, Tommy Little and Anne Edmonds. And if you’ve got the time, it’s definitely worth checking out the trippy 1000 Doors project, and walking through the incredible Yabarra light installation.
There are way too many events to mention in one article, but you can check out the whole list here.
What To Eat & Drink
If you’re sticking around the Fringe Festival itself, either in the Garden of Unearthly Delights, or across the road in the Gluttony District, then you’ll have a veritable feast of festival food — think burgers, pizza, pies and curries — to choose from, and you really can’t go wrong.
But Adelaide is an underrated food haven, so why not venture a little further afield for a delicious feed. Not far from the Fringe is Africola. It’s Adelaide’s hippest restaurant, with it’s incredible South African banquet menu and funky, laid back interior. If you can handle the heat, try the peri peri chicken.
If you want to do something a little more casual, the iconic Italy Ristorante e Bar on Rundle Street has recently re-opened, complete with a laneway popup serving pizza and Aperol Spritzes. It’s a perfect way to start your night before hitting some of Adelaide’s coolest new bars. Speaking of which…
If you find yourself between shows, you won’t find a better place to relax than the Johnnie Walker Highball Bar in the Gluttony district. Perched at the top of a small hill with a bird’s eye view of the whole festival, it’s the perfect place to sit back with one of Johnnie Walker’s new signature highball cocktail — you may not think of yourself as a whiskey drinker, but the Johnnie Walker has updated the classic highball with a few new twists, and it’s the perfect way to cool down and relax on a hot summer’s day.
If you’re looking for a pub crawl, make your way down Rundle Street, past the famous Mall’s Balls, and take a left into Peel Street, where you’ll find a heap of cool little bars that will suit anyone’s tastes. Our favourites are Clever Little Tailor, or head downstairs to Maybe Mae, which is hidden behind a secret door and has a cool speakeasy vibe to it.
If you’re still looking for some fun after all that eating and drinking, head to iconic Adelaide queer bar Mary’s Poppin — where the drag queens will put on a show that puts Sydney and Melbourne’s drag shows to shame — sorry girls.
This author travelled to Adelaide courtesy of Johnnie Walker.