Adelaide Festival

Adelaide Festival drops colossal program with new open air music hub

Adelaide Festival drops whopping program alongside the return of Adelaide Writers’ Week, Chamber Landscapes at UKARIA, and WOMADelaide.

Feature image depicting The Shaolin Afronauts playing the live soundtrack to the screening of Mad Max 2. Image by Andrew Beveridge

The 36th Adelaide Festival program has dropped, offering a whopping total of 70 events in theatre, music, opera, dance, film, food and visual arts.

Alongside the return of the uniquely local programs’ Adelaide Writers’ Week, Chamber Landscapes at UKARIA, and WOMADelaide.

To Adelaide Festival Artistic Directors Rachel Healy and Neil Armfield, this edition of the festival is incredibly unique.

“Since March, the question we have been consistently asked is ‘how do you plan a festival in a pandemic?’,” she says.

“Admittedly, it has not been easy: an enforced hiatus for companies across the world; artists and performers losing months of employment overnight and some leaving the industry in order to secure jobs in other fields; mental health impacts among art workers; a reduction in the number of new productions being created; insurance cover all but disappearing, border closures, reduced flight routes, quarantining requirements; new costs of developing and implementing specialised COVID-management plans, and the severe reduction in venue capacities and therefore box office income and ticket stock.”

“There will also be three live international events at the 2021 Adelaide Festival, including two extraordinary new installations from the US and UK – both free to the public – and a classical music concert.”

The festival will be kicking off with a bang in the form of a free concert by pop icon, actress, musician and songwriter Jessica Mauboy.

The beloved, award-winning entertainer will perform at Adelaide Oval on the evening of Saturday 27 February.


The OPERA program will be headlined by Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The Live From Europe program will feature four unique, specially commissioned live performances on four European mornings, by some of the world’s most lauded artists in theatre, music and dance; each introduced to Adelaide audiences by the director or principal artist, in state-of-the-art vision and sound, on four unforgettable Australian nights at the newly-renovated Her Majesty’s Theatre:

The THEATRE program will feature Medea and Eugene Onegin streamed live from Europe, and extraordinary Australian performers in new international works – notably Robyn Nevin in A German Life.

In the CLASSICAL MUSIC program, pianist Igor Levit, one of the most in-demand musicians across the globe right now will appear via live stream.

For a comprehensive look into each program, click here.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2009. Photography by Michael Cooper


In the tradition of The Workshop and The Palais in previous festivals, the 2021 Festival Club, dubbed The Summerhouse, will be the hub of the Festival and venue for its contemporary music program.

The pop-up venue will emerge every year at Festival time adjacent to the northern side of the Festival Centre, and will feature a slew of sensational music acts.

Musicians and bands confirmed to date include:

  • Indie/pop/rock/folk band San Cisco with their new album Between You and Me;
  • Infamous DJ Late Nite Tuff Guy’s dedicated tribute show to Prince;
  • A night with two of the great identities of Australian jazz Paul Grabowsky and Vince Jones;
  • Instrumental Afrobeat band The Shaolin Afronauts playing the live soundtrack to the screening of Mad Max 2;
  • Indie pop singer-songwriter Ben Lee returning from the US with songs from his new album Quarter Century Classix;
  • Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Wafia with her unique pop anthems including songs from her Good Things EP;
  • Cult hero Donny Benét and his 80’s post-disco Italo-style nostalgia
  • Find the full list here.
San Cisco

Adelaide Festival will take place over 17 days from 26 February to 14 March.

For more information, and to look through the full program, head to

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