Adelaide Fringe Festival

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Coordinates: 34°55′24″S 138°35′44″E / 34.92343°S 138.59565°E / -34.92343; 138.59565

Adelaide Fringe
Genre Arts
Frequency Annually
Location(s) Adelaide, South Australia
Years active 1960 onwards bi-annually, 2006 onwards annually
Inaugurated 1960
Previous event February 13, 2015 (2015-02-13) - March 15, 2015 (2015-03-15)
Next event February 12, 2016 (2016-02-12) - March 14, 2016 (2016-03-14)
Organised by Adelaide Fringe Board

The Adelaide Fringe is the largest annual arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere, held in the South Australian capital of Adelaide. For 24 days and nights during February and March, the annual festival features more than 4,000 artists from around Australia and the world, featuring world premieres, hit shows and new artists. Over 900 events are staged in pop-up venues in parks, warehouses, lane-ways and disused buildings as well as established venues such as theatres, hotels, art galleries and cafes.

The festival includes contemporary work in art forms including cabaret, comedy, circus and physical theatre, dance, film, theatre, puppetry, music, visual art and design. Adelaide Fringe begins with free opening night celebrations, including a street parade through the city centre and parties at various venues. Street theatre artists from all over the world participate in four days and four nights of events as part of The Adelaide Fringe Street Theatre Festival.[1] In a period in Adelaide's calendar referred to by locals as 'Mad March', the Adelaide Fringe is accompanied by WOMADelaide, a world music festival and the Adelaide Festival. Other events occurring in Adelaide during this period include the Symphony Under the Stars and the Clipsal 500.

The festival attracts interstate and overseas visitors: 6% percent of the Fringe’s 1,560,000 audience members are visitors to the city.


The Adelaide Fringe is governed by the Adelaide Fringe Board. The Fringe and Adelaide Festival are separate organisations, with different philosophies and intent. Artists from across the globe participate alongside home-grown talent, in all art forms. Adelaide Fringe also organises its own public events. The Adelaide Fringe does not actively seek out the events which form part of the Fringe Program and thus a vast variety of different performances can be seen.


As an open-access festival, anyone can perform or apply. Artists pay a once-off registration fee to the Fringe and are charged an administration fee for any tickets purchased online or through a FringeTix box office. The presentation costs of their season, performance, event and/or exhibition are the responsibility of the presenting party. To help participating artists present their work, the Adelaide Fringe provides information, facilitates and brings festival directors and producers from around the world to see artists' shows as part of the Honey Pot program.[2]


1960 - 2006[edit]

The first Adelaide Fringe, in 1960, came about when a few artists decided to stage their own event in response to the exclusion of many artists from the curated Adelaide Festival of Arts. Activity recorded in 1960 included a mixture of 60 official and unofficial events. It was seen as an alternative to the 'mainstream' Adelaide Festival of Arts. The latter was seen to offer limited opportunity for local and smaller-scale artists. The Adelaide Fringe is an open access event, allowing anyone with ideas and enthusiasm to register in the program, and so to showcase their arts to the public.[3] For many years the two events were inextricably linked and together created an atmosphere of electric excitement across the city.[citation needed]

It continued to be held biannually, and in 1975 the Adelaide Fringe became an incorporated association.

In 2006 South Australian Premier Mike Rann announced that the Adelaide Fringe would receive extra government funding (totaling $2 million) to enable it to become an annual event from 2007 onwards.[4]


In 2007, the AF became an annual event. The 2007 festival received funding from the state government of $500,000 and the change to an annual festival was described as an immediate success.[5] From 2007 onwards, the Adelaide Fringe became an annual event in its own right.[6]

In 2007, at the first annual Fringe, 130,000 tickets were sold through the FringeTIX box office system – with an additional 10,000 ticket sales by national ticketing partners.[citation needed]


187,000 tickets were sold through the FringeTIX box office and their national ticketing partners in 2008. The final box office income was estimated to reach over $5.3 million – a majority of which revenue was passed back to Fringe artists. 281 Fringe venues sold tens of thousands of tickets on the door. Family Day became Family Weekend and doubled in size and attendances.[citation needed]


Ticket sales equaled the previous year's with over 187,000 tickets sold through FringeTIX and other national ticketing partners. This figure does not include tickets sold at the doors of 259 venues to walk-up Fringe-goers. 2,800 artists featured in 250 venues across the city.The 2009 Adelaide Fringe featured 508 comedy, theatre, music, dance and visual art shows.[citation needed]


The Adelaide Fringe celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010. Compared to the previous year ticket sales were 27% higher in 2010.[7] For the first time, Fringe sold 100,000 tickets prior to the opening parade. The event received extra State Government funding of $350,000 to support the anniversary event. The grant covered the cost of producing 8 inflatable astronauts and erecting them around the city.[8] 300,000 tickets were sold at box offices, more than twice as many as were sold in 2007.[9]


In 2011, the Fringe Parade was cancelled due to rain.[citation needed] 334,000 tickets were sold equating to over $8 million. 1.45 million attendances were recorded and ticket sales increased 11% over 2010's results.[10]


The 2012 festival ran from 24 February to 18 March.[11] 367,000 tickets were sold, a 10% increase on 2011 sales. Ticket sales equated to an approximate value of $9 million. The event featured 6532 performances, over 4,000 artists and 923 Events. There were 20% more events than in 2011. Approximately 40,000 spectators attended the Fringe Parade.[12]


In 2013, Fringe was extended to run for a full 4 week period, commencing Friday 15 February.[13] There were over 4000 artists registered appearing in 930 events and 6139 performances.[14] 1.8 million people attended this year’s festivities. 407,153 tickets were sold.[15] The dollar value of ticket sales equated to $11.6 million.[16]


The festival ran for 30 days and nights from 14 February until 16 March, and brought together over 4,000 artists from around Australia and the world. The program included a controversial dramatic play, The Sheds, by James Cunningham about a gay Australian Football League player.

Adelaide Fringe took over the entire city with over 900 events staged in pop-up venues in parks, warehouses, lane-ways and disused buildings as well as established venues such as theatres, hotels, art galleries and cafes. The official accommodation partner was the Crown Plaza Adelaide.[17]


In February 2015 Heather Croall came on board as CEO and Festival Director.[18]

Notable mascots[edit]

Adelaide Fringe's 2014 mascot, Stobie the Disco Cuttlefish, after the opening parade, February 14.

Adelaide Fringe Festivals have occasionally featured memorable mascots. In 2010, eight giant 10–12 m high inflatable astronauts were placed around Adelaide.[19] They were produced by Mr Inflatables, who delivered them in five weeks.

The 2014 event's mascot was Stobie the Disco Cuttlefish, a 13 m long street performance puppet inspired by the Giant Australian Cuttlefish of South Australia. Stobie the Disco Cuttlefish flashed multi-coloured lights, waved its tentacles and played pre-recorded disco music while a group of professional dancers performed original choreography each Saturday night during the event.[20] Public participation was invited and a video teaching the steps to a dance called 'The Cuttlefish' was available online.


The Adelaide Fringe is Australia's largest open access festival hosting thousands of artists from Adelaide, Australia and the world, all needing a space to present their work. Since the very first Fringe, venues across the city and surrounds have been supporting artists by providing or transforming their venues into visual and performing art spaces. In 2012, over 330 venues opened their doors to Fringe performing and visual artists. These venues ranged from the 2000 seat theatres to the corners and function rooms of pubs, clubs, council buildings, outdoor venues, churches, cinemas and the odd alley way.

Because of Adelaide's very strict street layout within a square mile, venues are close together, forcing patrons to cross paths on the city streets. The city's surrounding parks provide venues outside of the established and converted venues within the city itself. With the Adelaide Festival and Adelaide Writers' Week all sharing the same spaces, there is significant opportunity for patrons to participate in events in all three festivals in those years they all run.

Ticket prices[edit]

The Fringe includes free and priced events. Details regarding the free Opening Night Street Party, Fringe Family events and more appear in the first few pages of the Fringe Guide, which is released online in December and in hard copy in January of each year. Priced events vary.


The Adelaide Fringe allows any type of artist, national or international, to perform, interact and play with their audiences. In 2012, over 920 performing and visual arts events were staged in over 320 venues across the city. Over 4000 artists registered, undertaking over 6500 individual performances, from 15 minute performances to multi-day events. There were over 1,560,000 attendances to Fringe events/venues across the 24 days of the festival.

Poster competition[edit]

Each year Adelaide Fringe holds a competition to select the cover art for the festival's guide, website, posters and general branding. Previous winners include:

  • 2007 - Ryan Stephens
  • 2008 - Hat Morgan
  • 2009 - David Blaiklock
  • 2010 - David Capriotti[21]
  • 2011 - Kamen Goranov[22]
  • 2012 - Sue Ninham[11]
  • 2013 - Andy Petrusevics[23]
  • 2014 - Sharon Moreno[24]


The opening night of the Fringe includes a parade through Adelaide city. The parade is free for groups to register to participate in, as well as for people to watch. Roads are blocked off[25] and Fringe venues host opening night parties. A range of community organisations participate in the parade, ranging from Adelaide Roller Derby to the Royal Institution of Australia. The parade can be affected by Adelaide's extreme summer weather. It was cancelled in 2011 due to rain,[26] while the 2012 parade happened on a 39 °C day.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Special Events. Adelaide Fringe. Retrieved on 3 January 2013.
  2. ^ Arts Industry. Adelaide Fringe. Retrieved on 3 January 2013.
  3. ^ History. Adelaide Fringe. Retrieved on 3 January 2013.
  4. ^ ALP News Release, 25 February 2006
  5. ^ Spoehr, John (2009). State of South Australia: From Crisis to Prosperity?. Wakefield Pres. p. 39. ISBN 186254865X. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  6. ^ Scott-Norman, Fiona (14 February 2008). "Adelaide Fringe no longer oddball grunge". Retrieved 13 January 2009. 
  7. ^ Michaela Boland (16 March 2010). "Adelaide Fringe Festival a soaring success". The Australian (News Limited). Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  8. ^ McDonald, Patrick "Giant astronauts mark the launch of a successful Fringe festival" The Advertiser, South Australia (2010-02-17). Retrieved 2014-02-20.
  9. ^ Meacham, Steve "Festival of Delight" Sydney Morning Herald, New South Wales, Australia (2010-11-13). Retrieved 2014-02-21.
  10. ^ History Adelaide Fringe Festival, South Australia. Accessed 2014-02-20.
  11. ^ a b "Little 'monsters' promote Adelaide Fringe". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 11 October 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  12. ^ "Ticket sales up 10%" Adelaide Fringe Festival, South Australia (2012). Retrieved 2014-02-20.
  13. ^ "Fringe extended in 2013" Adelaide Fringe Festival, South Australia. Accessed 2014-02-20.
  14. ^ "About" Adelaide Fringe Festival, South Australia (2014). Accessed 2014-02-20.
  15. ^ "A staggering $64.6 million impact" Adelaide Fringe Festival, South Australia. Accessed 2014-02-20.
  16. ^ "Ticket sales up 10.9%" Adelaide Fringe Festival, South Australia. Accessed 2014-02-20.
  17. ^
  18. ^ Sheffield Doc/Fest director Heather Croall to step down,, 5 January 2015, retrieved 1 June 2015
  19. ^ "Adelaide Fringe 2010 Mr Inflatables" Mr Inflatables, (2011-06-06). Accessed 2014-02-20.
  20. ^ McDonald, Patrick "Stobie the Disco Cuttlefish poles apart from usual Fringe fare" The Advertiser, South Australia (2014-02-12). Retrieved 2014-02-17.
  21. ^ McDonald, Patrick "2010 Fringe poster out of this world" The Advertiser, South Australia (2009-11-06)
  22. ^ McDonald, Patrick "Ahoy! 2011 Fringe poster sets sail" The Advertiser, South Australia (2010-11-04).
  23. ^ "2013 poster revealed" Adelaide Fringe, South Australia (2012).
  24. ^ "Collision of spots wins 2014 Adelaide Fringe poster competition for graphic designer Sharon Moreno" ABC News (2013-11-01)
  25. ^ Fringe Parade – Safe Work Method. Adelaide Fringe. Retrieved on 3 January 2013.
  26. ^ Ken McGregor and Steve Rice (18 February 2011). Fringe parade washed out by downpour. The Advertiser. Retrieved on 3 January 2013.

External links[edit]