By Samuel Smith
Published: Thursday, March 4, 2021
Excited chatter mixes with melodic sounds, the scent of sizzling street food wafts past bustling laneway bars and fairy lights glow like beacons in the evening sky. Mad March in Adelaide is here.
Every autumn, our city plays host to the holy trinity of festivals – Adelaide Fringe, the Adelaide Festival and WOMADelaide. Each year, these iconic events see pilgrims of the partying variety flock to the city, revelling in diverse creative and culinary offerings – and 2021 is no exception.
The Adelaide Fringe – the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest arts festival – is back in full force, serving up a whopping 800 events across 285 venues, until 21 March.
Running parallel until 14 March, the esteemed Adelaide Festival will deliver an expertly mixed cocktail of internationally acclaimed theatre productions, musical concerts, dance pieces, recitals and visual arts displays to arts-hungry festivalgoers.
Of course, Mad March in our city wouldn’t be complete without WOMAD – a celebration of the world’s many forms of music, arts and dance. This year’s event runs from 5-8 March.
Whichever festival takes your fancy – here are 3 CBD escapes that encapsulate the heart and soul of Adelaide’s festival season.
Staycation 1: Fringe fling
Day 1 – Saturday 6 March
Start your morning with brunch at Hey Jupiter, nestled in bustling Ebenezer Place. Tuck into a traditional Parisian breakfast and some of the city’s best coffee. From croque monsieur to toast Français, delicious dishes abound.
With your stomach full and caffeine craving fixed, stroll down to the River Torrens, where Earth Adventure kayaking will have you experiencing the city from the water.
In the afternoon, jump aboard an EcoCaddy street art tour. Your knowledgeable, local guide will shuttle you through Adelaide’s intricate network of alleyways, lush parklands and beautiful bike trails in search of colourful street art.
Join powerhouse duo Amelia Ryan and Libby O’Donovan in UNSUNG – a loud, proud, raucous celebration of Australian pop and rock divas. RAA members get 15% off tickets.
Post-show, head to RCC 2021 or The Garden of Unearthly Delights for a snack and drink.
Retreat to opulence and some well-earned zzzzs at the heritage-listed Mayfair Hotel.
Day 2 – Sunday 7 March
Start your day with the freshest, tastiest food in town on a Central Market breakfast tour. The Adelaide Central Market is a city icon. One of Australia’s largest undercover fresh food markets, it’s been loved by locals since 1869. Some favourites among the more than 70 traders are Providore, Angelakis Bros seafood and the Smelly Cheese Shop.
Treat yourself to the best views in town on a RoofClimb Adelaide Oval tour. Climb to the very top of this impressive stadium’s historic grandstands and soak up jaw-dropping city views.
After, head just over the River Torrens to enjoy some pre-show refreshments Sol bar & restaurant.
Prepare your dancing shoes for Adelaide Fringe show, Jackson Vs Jackson. This musical extravaganza pays tribute to the Jackson clan with back-to-back Michael, Janet and Jackson 5 mash-ups. RAA members get 15% off Sunday night tickets.
Staycation 2: Adelaide Festival extravaganza
Day 1 – Saturday 13 March
Chill and grill on Adelaide’s River Torrens with BBQ Buoys: self-drive donut-shaped boats, complete with central BBQs, seating for 10 and giant sun umbrellas. Stock up on your favourite lunchtime treats in the morning at the Central Market, then head to Adelaide Riverbank, where you’ll jump aboard and gently bob your way up and down the river.
After a quick wardrobe change, step out in your Saturday best to see FANGIRLS, a high-energy musical comedy, following a plucky misfit who believes she alone can win the heart of the world’s biggest pop star. RAA members get 10% off tickets.
Wind down at The Summerhouse – an architecturally designed pop-up auditorium overlooking the sparkling River Torrens. Throughout the Adelaide Festival’s run, it will be your one-stop shop for intimate musical affairs, club beats and late-night revelry. To sweeten the deal, RAA members get 10% off drinks.
Retreat to the Majestic Roof Garden Hotel to rest and recharge.
Day 2 – Sunday 14 March
Grab coffee and breakfast at CIBO Espresso. If you’re an RAA member, you’re entitled to a free upgrade, daily.
Strap yourself in for heart-in-your-mouth action with Adelaide Festival show: High Performance Packing Tape. Marvel as performers scale cardboard-box towers and hang precariously from flimsy, sticky-tape bridges. RAA members get 10% off tickets.
As the sun sets, head to Sean’s Kitchen for dinner. A favourite haunt for Adelaide foodies, Sean Connolly’s menu showcases the finest Australian produce from fire pit-seared steak to freshly caught seafood.
End the evening with a cocktail at Luna10 – Adelaide’s newest rooftop bar, boasting unparalleled views over the city, all the way to the sea.
Staycation 3: Wonders of WOMAD
Day 1 – Saturday 6 March
Start your staycation with an afternoon of indulgence at Penfolds Magill Estate. The Magill Estate Heritage Tour takes 45 minutes and immerses you in the history of one of the nation’s oldest and most iconic wineries.
Available in English and Mandarin, the tour begins at the cellar door, offering up beautiful vineyard views, before heading to bluestone buildings where you’ll view winemaking vats and the barrel maturation cellar. Afterwards, dig into award-winning produce at Penfolds’ stunning restaurant.
Retreat to the Quest on Franklin for a slumber to remember.
Day 2 – Sunday 7 March
Rise and shine, then head to Bowden’s Plant 4 for breakfast. Just a 12-minute cab or rideshare from town, this multipurpose community space set within the skeleton of Adelaide’s famous Clipsal building features cafes, food, clothing, craft and plant stalls.
Day and night
This year, WOMAD takes place in King Rodney Park / Ityamai-itpina with the likes of The Teskey Brothers, Tash Sultana, Miiesha and local outfit Siberian Tiger keeping audiences on their toes well into the balmy, summer night. If you’re an RAA member, you’ll get 15% off Adult B-Reserve Sunday tickets.
Retreat to The Quest on Franklin.
Day 3 – Monday 8 March
After a lazy brunch, take a stroll along the city’s tree-lined North Terrace, and pop into the Art Gallery of South Australia to feed your culture craving.
Immerse yourself in AGSA’s eclectic collection of contemporary and iconic artworks and be sure to catch some of the free exhibitions currently on show including Chromatopia and the fascinating Dark Matter, Bright Light.
Match your full mind with a full belly at Art Gallery Food + Wine on AGSA’s Courtyard level.
Crack codes, solve puzzles and unravel a brilliantly plotted mystery at Escape Hunt Adelaide. For those who’ve never braved an Escape Room – they’re the closest you’ll come to starring in your very own action-adventure movie.