Welcome to ‘The Festival State’ ladies and gents. We see the phrase every single day but probably don’t take the time to think about how lucky that makes us. That means South Australia is the state that officially knows how to throw the best parties! Come on, it even says so on our number plates.
We know you may have witnessed other guides to SA festivals, but when this is ‘The Festival State’ we couldn’t leave the list at just three now could we!? We struggled to keep it short, sweet and simple for you at just twelve, but here at Glam we strive to give you the very best (you’re welcome).
Crush Festival- These guys Crush it! (was that too obvious? Sorry.) The Adelaide Hills Wine Region puts on an awesome show in January so you can celebrate the sunshine and the gloriousness of the stunning Adelaide Hills, oh and your love for food and wine! The festival goes for three days and nights and this year’s festival included 35 wineries, 9 exclusive ticketed events (we’re talking long lunches and meet the makers). There are Crush organised busses that do loops of selected venues for a mere $20pp and even a stay package at Mount Lofty House for those feeling a little fancy. Can’t wait for this one next year!
Sea and Vines Festival- Who would’ve thought that a wintery wine festival could be so damned successful? Every year thousands upon thousands of Adelaidians travel to the McLaren Vale region to celebrate all that it has to offer. The Sunday event has traditionally been the biggest, designed for those seeking a great wine tour that has been organised for them. Many different tour choices are available from various different establishments across the city (The General Havelock, The Maid and The PA are some of the most popular) but the simple self booking system on the Sea and Vines website this year meant that people could organise private buses to wineries of their choosing. The ‘Relish’ events this year ran over the course of the whole long weekend, and many sold out super fast, so if you’re a passionate foodie or wine lover we’d recommend getting in early to these fantastic ticketed events (don’t worry, we’ll make sure we give you the heads up when tickets go on sale)!
Cellar Door Wine Festival- One of our all time faves. This festival brings you the beauty of a food and wine festival, but all in one super convenient, undercover city location (no sweating your pants off or getting caught in the rain, hoorah). It runs for 3 days in February and features pretty much every wine vendor we can think of (there’s over 170 of them) from 12 regions across SA. There’s also gourmet food galore to taste and buy, cooking and wine masterclasses from industry experts and, for those who aren’t wineos, local breweries and cider makers also put themselves on display too. We always recommend getting a full weekend pass to this event as there’s just too much to squeeze into one day! While you’re at it you might as well book monday off work with this one, because if you’re anything like us, you’ll be feeling a little sorry for yourself by then.
The Adelaide Fringe- Envied by all the other states (hands off, it’s ours and we love it) and rivalled by none. Bringing acts from all over the world right here to SA for four weeks of glorious and endless entertainment. This festival is so diverse with Cabaret, Circus, Comedy, Drama, Dance and so, so much more. Part of the beauty of the Fringe is that there are so many different locations for the acts all across Adelaide. The major venues hubs however, are The Garden of Unearthly delights (for your circus themed debauchery), Gluttony, The Big Slapple and of course the infamous and fabulous The Royal Croquet Club. The opening night parade is always a great event to be noted, but if you’re not a fan of crowds give this one a miss as the city’s east end goes into lockdown with this one. Always try to book your tickets ahead so you don’t miss out on all the fun, and keep your eyes open for our constant reviews!
WOMADelaide- Where everyone from young to old releases their inner hippy. The world festival that brings us artists, musicians, food stalls and more. This is the ultimate ‘feel good from the inside out’ festival. Not only do the sounds, sights and smells ignite the senses but the festival itself is full of people who are filled with joy. The organisers have a heavy focus on waste minimisation and protecting the environment. This one is good for the whole family and always good for the soul.
Adelaide Cabaret Festival- This year headlined by Dame Edna… well Barry Humphries. This isn’t just a festival for those passionate about the arts. Even those who don’t speak the language of song and dance have been drawn to this great two week event. This year’s program featured more than 350 artists in 152 performances. Not many know that the Adelaide Cabaret Festival is the largest cabaret festival in the world, but with 53,686 people in attendance this year, that’s not hard to believe.
CheeseFest- We probably don’t even need to brief you on this one. I mean if the name doesn’t spell it out then what will? BUT what you do need to know is that you absolutely MUST attend CheeseFest if you love cheese like we do. Three days jam packed with more cheesy goodness than you could imagine, and what’s more? Beer and wine to wash it all down. This year the late October festival’s major sponsor is Vale Brewing (the chaps that make the mighty Vale Ale.) Forget Christmas, this should be our main annual holiday. We even know a bunch of people who are lactose intolerant who STILL adore Cheesefest. If you needed more proof, the founder of CheeseFest, Kris Lloyd is also the head cheesemaker at Woodside Cheese Wrights (one of the prettiest and most delicious cheeses to come out of SA) so you know we’ll only be served up the best!
Adelaide Fashion Festival- Another of our absolute faves. This year the festival is being run by the State Government and is being relocated to the inner city, so we’re expecting really big things! Since its humble beginnings in 2008 the Adelaide Fashion Festival has grown to become a real calendar event for fashion lovers and passionate Adelaidians alike. With fashion parades from both well known and upcoming designers, plus real opportunity for young fashion students to showcase their talents with things like the Premiers Designer Award up for grabs. A must for fashion lovers.
Feast Festival- Being headlined this year by none other than Conchita Wurst! Doesn’t that say it all!? This festival is about celebrating the LGBTIQ community and has meant that people have travelled the lengths of Australia just to be involved. This event isn’t restricted just to those who live a LGBTIQ lifestyle, but for anyone and everyone who wants to show their support for this community and have a damned good time doing so! It has been running since 1997 and going from strength to strength. As you’d imagine the festival is awash with colour, joy and acceptance. A message we’re truly passionate about here at Glam, if only our friend Tony could get on board too. Oops did we just say that?
Adelaide Film Festival- Movie lovers unite! The Adelaide Film Festival is a biennial eleven-day celebration for lovers of the screen. The festival features a program filled with both Australian and international screenings, forums and special events. Although it only came to us in 2002, the Adelaide Film Festival was has been listed in Variety’s list of ’50 Unmissable Film Festivals’ and now, clearly more notably one of Glam’s top 12! We’ve also got an abundance of internation screen festivals here in SA so if you’re into cultural screenings (and can read subtitles real quick) try out the Spanish, French or Scandinavian Film Festivals too.
Adelaide Festival of The Arts- The 2016 festival will run from 26th of Feb to 14th of March. Covering all art forms, from dance to theatre to visual and everything in between this festival has been doing SA proud for the past 55 years! In the words of The Guardian, “This is, of course, precisely the reason we have international arts festivals – to expose audiences to stories and styles we would not otherwise experience.” And we couldn’t have put it better ourselves. A must for art lovers, and even those who just want to learn a little more about the beautiful world we live in.
SALA Festival- Lucky for us it’s on RIGHT NOW! And you don’t even have to travel to one specific spot to enjoy it. SALA (South Australian Living Artists) spreads its way across our beautiful city and pops up where you least expect it. The gorgeous new art hanging in your favourite coffee shop? Probably a SALA artist. The clothing store awash with incredible canvas’? Probably a SALA artist. Even those stunning drawings on stobie poles? Probably a SALA artist. This open access visual arts festival presents thousands of artists through unique collaborations and exhibitions in hundreds of exhibition spaces. Check out the full program on their website!
Other fabulous and notable festivals to keep you entertained all year round:
Barossa Gourmet Weekend
Adelaide International Guitar Festival
Adelaide Beer and BBQ Festival
Come Out Childrens Festival
Adelaide Kids Film Festival
Fork On The Road Food Truck Festival