Adelaide Festival

Adelaide Festival
The Adelaide Festival, also referred to as the Adelaide Festival of Arts, is an annual arts festival held in the capital of South Australia. It is regarded as one of Australia’s major cultural events as well as one of the biggest celebrations of the arts in the world.

The history of the Adelaide Festival began in the 1950s when influential Australian journalist Sir Lloyd Dumas came up with the idea of establishing a major arts festival that would bring to the state of South Australia world-class exhibitions and performers. In 1958, he gathered a group of prominent members of the Adelaide government, business and arts community. His proposal for an event similar to the famous Edinburgh International Festival was met with enthusiasm. That’s how the Adelaide Festival was born.

The main organizers of the inaugural edition of the Adelaide Festival were Sir Lloyd Dumas and John Bishop, famous conductor and Professor of Music at the University of Adelaide. Bishop became the inaugural director of the festival and continued in this position until his death in 1964. The event was supported by the Adelaide City Council and a number of leading local businesses. Edinburgh Festival’s artistic director Ian Hunter assisted in organizing the inaugural edition of the Adelaide Festival.

The inaugural Adelaide Festival of Arts was held from March 12–26, 1960. Its program included over a hundred shows covering almost all aspects of the arts including music, dance, theater, visual arts, and literature.

Over the years, the Adelaide Festival has grown to become one of Australia’s largest and most significant cultural events. It has developed a number of associated events including Adelaide Writers’ Week, the Adelaide Festival of Ideas, Artists’ Week, the Adelaide Festival Club, Adelaide International, and WOMADelaide. The world’s second-largest fringe festival Adelaide Fringe wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the Adelaide Festival.

The Adelaide Festival presents world-class musicians and dancers, internationally acclaimed theater productions, striking visual arts displays, and renowned authors from all over the world. Past participants have included French ballet dancer Sylvie Guillem, American composer, arranger and musician John Zorn, actresses Marlene Dietrich, Jane Birkin and Isabella Rossellini, singer Nina Simone, poet Allen Ginsberg, and others.

Although the Adelaide Festival does introduce its audience to the world’s greatest artists and companies, it also pays much attention to supporting Australia’s up-and-coming artists. The festival belongs to the city’s ten major arts and cultural festivals collectively known as Festivals Adelaide.

Adelaide Festival

Photo: Tony Lewis




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