Festivals in Adelaide are mega. Picture this: beer in hand, shades on, music blazing, sun glaring, sexy people everywhere. F*ck yeah.

South Australia has been pumping with festivals for ages, and Adelaide is the number one city to be in to experience it. It’s been dubbed “the festival city” and constantly outdoes some of the more popular cities like Sydney and Melbourne when it comes to the best festivals in Australia.

You can have a weekend full of Beer and BBQ or a month-long celebration at the Fringe Festival. The city seriously goes wild every chance it gets, and while typically Adelaide is left off of many backpackers’ Australian itinerary, I’m here to convince you of the exact opposite. If you can time your trip just right, you’ll be singing the South Australian capital praises for years to come.

So, with that being said, let the sweet talkin’ begin, shall we? Here are the absolute best festivals in Adelaide.

a sign that says "you are exactly where you need to be" that is in front of a pyramid at the burning man festival in nevada, usa
Festival mode: activated.
Photo: @amandaadraper

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Festivals in Adelaide

While the city of Adelaide itself can be seen as a little bit… how do I say this?… mundane… in comparison to other major Australian backpacking cities, its festivals are anything but.

From the incredible art scene to the cultural events, the festivals in Adelaide really do live up to Adelaide’s title and the city deserves a little more credit when it comes to must-stops in Oz.

St Jerome’s Laneway Festival

  • When: February
  • Where: Adelaide

For one of the sickest music festivals in Adelaide, you have to attend the St. Jeromes Laneway Festival. What started in Melbourne in 2004 has grown into a country-wide music festival with stops in all the major cities, and the Adelaide one goes hard.

The festival is only for one day in the summer, and it goes all out. The stage is filled with all kinds of different musical acts but is definitely rooted in alternative music. It almost feels a bit nostalgic with psychedelic merch and music.

The Laneway Festival also does a great job at including up-and-coming artists, making it an epic event for finding some new music to rock out to. Plus, the city’s summer vibe is nothing short of incredible, making this festival the perfect way to spend a hot summer day. Just don’t forget your bucket hat and favourite sunnies – that Aussie sun is brutal.

Where to Stay:

Solo travelers will love this hostel in the city center. The common areas are perfect for meeting other travelers and maybe meeting some festival goers as well.

WOMADelaide

WOMADelaide adelaide
Womadelaide is where it’s at!
  • When: March
  • Where: Adelaide

For 30 years, Womadelaide has been raising the bar on cultural events around the world. World of Music, Arts, and Dance is a 4-day event, and it’s one of the best festivals in all of Australia.

From its inception, it was designed to showcase all the diversity in the world and how beautiful it is. Over 30 countries participate and make the world feel a little smaller.

The event has everything from indigenous music to some of the most popular talent, but I can say without a doubt it’s one of the most captivating and surprising festivals. To be able to watch artists do what they are best at and to have the platform to flourish is something to be seen.

It takes place in Botanic Park, which is beautiful in its own right, but when Womadelaide comes to town, it’s taken up a few notches. There are all kinds of art installations around, a few trapezists, and loads of festival goers who can’t wait to see what new acts the festival has come up with.

Now, I can’t lie; it’s on the more spenny side of festivals, starting at $400 for the whole Adelaide weekender. I personally think it’s worth it.

There are at least 30 acts, and the vibes are immaculate. But if you aren’t looking to spend that much, you can also just purchase a day pass for around $100.

Where to Stay:

Unfortunately, there is no camping in the Botanic Gardens, but the Adelaide Caravan Park is right around the corner and is within walking distance of the festival.

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    Adelaide Fringe Festival

    Adelaide Fringe Festival
    A month-long? Yup.
    Photo: Michael Coghlan (Flickr)
    • When: March
    • Where: Adelaide

    It doesn’t get much better than the month-long art festival in Adelaide. The Fringe Festival is one of my fav Aussie festivals and has pretty much everything a theatre kid has ever dreamed of. It’s a place full of magic and inspiration and will leave your cheeks hurting from all the smiling and your mind blown from all of the insane artwork on display.

    The city literally comes alive from February to March. Just around every corner, you’ll find an event going on and people taking to the street to experience the vibrancy of Fringe. For 60 years, the festival has been an open-access event allowing people from all backgrounds to join in on the fun.

    The organization itself doesn’t put on any events but holds space that allows for other organizations to put on their own event. It’s like a massive open-air street market of musicians, comedians, and Artists, each feeding off the energy from one another.

    Each year, there is a parade through the city that marks the start of the Adelaide Fringe Festival. If you want to see the insanity that is Fringe, then you have to get to the East End. A lot of acts will be spread throughout the city, but the East End is where the party starts.

    Where to Stay:

    Staying anywhere in the CBD is a must for fringe. But stay at Tequila Sunrise Hostel to meet some other travelers in town for the festival.

    Adelaide Festival

    Adelaide Festival
    Pwetty lightz
    • When: March
    • Where: Adelaide

    March is one of the best times to visit Adelaide for festivals. The Adelaide Festival runs alongside the Fringe Festival and has been going strong for 60 years. And while it might seem a little redundant to have two art festivals running side by side, it actually draws in two different crowds and makes the city all the more vibrant.

    The Adelaide Festival hosts a lot of different artists but is most famous for its opera performances and its Writer’s Week. You will be captivated by the voices and the stories that are told on a nightly basis through the theatre. And once you’ve attended a show, you can attend one of the incredible workshops put on by authors and poets during their Writers’ Week.

    The YA Hear Me Roar event is perfect if you are traveling with your family. If your kid is aspiring to be the next JK Rowling, then they’ll be pumped to meet with these authors and get the wheels turning for their first NYT best seller.

    Where to Stay:

    The YHA Adelaide Central is perfect for families. Some of the rooms come with bunk beds, giving everyone their own space and beds.

    Tasting Australia

    Tasting Australia Adelaide
    Drinking Festival? I’m in.
    Photo: Peripitus (WikiCommons)
    • When: May
    • Where: Adelaide

    Remember when I said that Adelaide is the “Festival City” well, it’s because of festivals like Tasting Australia. It’s the longest-running eating and drinking festival in the whole of Oz. It literally started what is one of everyone’s favorite things to do—go to food festivals.

    Regardless if you are a food connoisseur or if you just love to eat, tasting Australia will absolutely surprise you. Of course, you can always get good food in Australia, but to taste the flavors of the world, this is your event.

    And the vibes are second to none. I mean, I’m pretty sure everyone is happy when they’re full of delicious food and good wine.

    Most of the events at Tasting Australia are free, but if food is like your thing, then you can check out the Chef’s Table, where you’ll get a small group experience with a Michelin-star chef. And if you’re big on spirits and wine, join the masterclass where you’ll learn the art of sniffing, savoring, and sipping.

    Where to Stay:

    The Franklin Boutique Hotel is a quirky little place that has loads of charm. The rooms are cozy, and the outside terrace and bar are perfect for mingling.

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    Adelaide Cabaret Festival

    Adelaide Cabaret Festival
    Photo: Michael Coghlan (Flickr)
    • When: June
    • Where: Adelaide

    Get ready to be absolutely bewitched by the sequins and dramatic dance moves at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. It’s become one of the most popular festivals in Adelaide and is the biggest cabaret festival in the world.

    For three weeks in June, some of the most talented and entertaining artists from around the world come to Adelaide to put on a show that will literally have your jaw on the floor. Every night, new acts are taking place throughout the city, from comedians in drag to gorgeous little things giving jazz hands (and maybe a few other things, ha).

    The shows are all in good fun and definitely bring out a sense of nostalgia with their vintage vibes. Leave your inhibitions at the door and get ready for lots of satire, a few un-politically correct jokes, and a whole lot of passion.

    Where to Stay:

    The shows all take place at the Adelaide Festival Centre, so staying in the CBD will have you in walking distance. But if you’re looking for a luxury stay in the city, I highly recommend Eos by SkyCity. It’s within a 5-minute walk to the venues, and the views of the river are stunning.

    Adelaide Beer and BBQ Festival

    two people smiling and posing with bottles of beer lao
    Get it on!
    Photo: @taya.travels
    • When: July
    • Where: Adelaide

    As a born and raised Texan, I was sold at the first whiff of BBQ in the air, but I understand not everyone has an affinity for braised meats. But don’t worry, it’s never too late to learn, and the Adelaide Beer and BBQ Festival is the perfect place to indulge in all things smoky and savory.

    The festival in Adelaide takes place over two days and is overflowing with beer taps, loads of food vendors, and five different stages with a wide range of artists. On Saturday, it’s 18+ only, so you can expect it to get a little bit rowdy.

    Aussies tend to take their beer drinking seriously, and with a hot dog eating contest and a beer belly wet tshirt contest, well, all bets are off. However, Sunday is a family-friendly event, so you can bring out the babies and the pets. (but it still can get rowdy. Ha.)

    One-day tickets are $62, and a whole weekend pass is $98. You’ll still have to pay for your booze and BBQ, but I found it to be pretty typical prices. Beers were around $8, and food was anywhere from $8-$12.

    And if you aren’t big on pork, no worries. They have everything from fried chicken to fresh fish. And it’s all mouthwateringly good.

    Where to Stay:

    Adabco Boutique Hotel is perfect for those on a budget. Located right in the CBD, it gives you access to the city without breaking the bank—too much! (It’s still Oz… if you know what I mean.)

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    OzAsia Festival

    OzAsia Festival Adelaide
    Photo: Michael Coghlan (Flickr)
    • When: October
    • Where: Adelaide

    If you’re a fan of Asian culture (and if not, you will be by the end of the OzAsia festival), then you’re going to absolutely love this unique cultural festival in Adelaide. The OzAsia festival brings together so many of the popular and most loved components of Asian culture, including art, food, and music.

    For three weeks in October, the riverbank is full of Asian food stalls, live performances going on, and a bunch of different light installations to make your Instagram stories pop. Any given night during the festival, you’ll find some amazing entertainment, but everyone’s favorite night is, without fail, the Moon Lantern Trail.

    The Moon Lantern Trail is a one-way walking experience that is lit up by different Asian-inspired art pieces. There are dragons, dancing lanterns, and even a few tigers.

    If you’re a big-time foodie, then the Dumpling Market is about to blow your mind. I’m talking dumplings, ramen, pho, pad thai, the literal works of the Asian continent. It feels like a warm hug on a cool spring night.

    Where to Stay:

    If you’re visiting in October, then staying at the Majestic Roof Garden Hotel is a stellar option. The weather is starting to get warm, and the rooftop garden is the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail while watching the sunset over the CBD.

    Adelaide Film Festival

    Girl hugs giant Totoro from the Studio Ghibli Film in Japan.
    Always looking to meet my heroes.
    Photo: @audyscala
    • When: October
    • Where: Adelaide

    The Adelaide Film Festival is one of the newest festivals in Adelaide and is the perfect festival for those who love the magic of cinema. The festival brings together filmmakers from all over Australia as well as the rest of the world to showcase some of the best films of the year.

    Loads of people attend the prominent film festival in Sydney, so I was shocked to see Adelaide holding its own when they announced the yearly event in 2018. But just because the festival is young, don’t let that fool you into thinking they don’t know what they’re doing.

    The Adelaide Film Festival has showcased films from over 42 countries and is continuing to see rising stars. If you’re someone who is interested in getting your foot in the door, then I think heading to the Adelaide Film Festival is a must!

    Where to Stay:

    This hotel has everything you need for a longer stay in the city. With a gym and a nice breakfast area, your morning routine won’t change a bit!

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    What to Pack For Festivals in Adelaide

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    Hanging Laundry Bag

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    Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
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    Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

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    Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

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    Final Thoughts on Festivals in Adelaide

    Adelaide has definitely put itself on the map with its wide range of festivals, and honestly, I think all Australians have known this and have just been hiding the gem from us.

    I mean, it’s right next to the beach, has a beautiful city vibe, and is home to some of the most incredible festivals in the country. So tell me again, why it wouldn’t be on our Australian must-see list?

    If you’re still wary, there is only one way I can absolutely guarantee you have a legendary time in Adelaide, and that’s to visit during the Fringe Festival. It’s the absolute best festival in Adelaide. The streets are filled with different acts. Just about every bar you walk into has live music, and the city never feels as vibrant as it does during this time of year.

    Australia Adelaide park
    Av fun in Adelaide, mate.

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