“Mad March” – as it’s known throughout Adelaide – has a reputation for creating seriously big nights, and some pretty epic morning-afters too. It’s a hectic and heady time. With the Adelaide Festival of Arts, its surrounding fringe festivals and umbrella venues spreading like mercury through the city, March is peak Adelaide. And when festival buzz is ringing in your ears, you can still easily escape to the hills, or hit the beach.
#1 Support the local arts scene and catch world-class acts
We all know that one person who can somehow play any instrument they lay hands on. Adam Page is that guy – and then he plays them all at once. A mash-up of live loops, vocals, sax, guitar, keys, percussion and audience participation, his chaotically captivating solo show Chairman of the Beard has collected awards the world over, and returns to Adelaide to rock the Royal Croquet Club. Have you ever heard a song about beards played on a beard? Of course you goddamn haven’t!
Ten actors, five stories, one engrossing performance. The experience of Deluge by local debutants Tiny Bricks is akin to holding a chat conversation while watching a Youtube video and listening to the news as it plays in the background… and then your housemate wants to talk about their breakup. One of the world premiere events selected for this year’s Adelaide Festival of Arts, Deluge explores ideas associated with over-stimulation and how juggling multiple information sources shapes our world-view. Staged in the vacuous warehouse space Plant One, this is one of our most anticipated shows of the season.
Every festival has that one incredible big-ticket circus show that rolls into town, drawing huge crows; and every year local troupe Gravity and Other Myths out-stunt, out-flip and hands down out-perform it. A Simple Space is grit without the glitz. It’s visceral and frenetic and right-there-in-front-of-you amazing. Do. Not. Miss.
#2 Camp among the vines at a music festival with real heart
Blenheim Music and Camping Festival is unlike any other music event you’re likely to experience. A privately run, not-for-profit festival with the aim of showcasing local musicians and support New Hope Cambodia. Hosted in the heart of the stunning Clare Valley surrounded by vineyards and in the shadow of a 150 year-old bluestone building, this year’s line-up has a great mix of bluesy/hippy/folky/rootsy types… be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.
Fully-catered with wine and booze, (all local, of course), there are showers and toilets on site and ticket prices included access to the camping ground. Entry for children under 12 is free. It’s all very chill, however the operators do enforce a strict “no dickhead policy”. Blenheim Fest runs over March 25 and 26, more info here.
#3 Walk a fine line at an aerial adventure park for grown-ups
The 26-metre high structure at Adelaide Shores looks like a giant TV antennae Daryl Kerrigan would be proud of (“must add a bit of value, eh?”). Climb, jump and swing your way through a series of high-rise obstacles like scramble nets, rope bridges, swings and aerial surfboards. We’ll admit, we have no idea what “aerial surfboards” are, but we’re lining up to try one out! There is even a series of steps constructed from Adelaide wine barrels – to keep you grounded.
A perfect thrill-seeker’s pitstop, the MegaAdventure Aerial Park can be completed in under an hour. Adelaide Shores is just up from the major tourist centre of Glenelg and minutes from the warm waters of Henley Beach and West Beach.
#4 Explore a world of music at WOMAdelaide
WOMAD’s 2016 line-up is characteristically eclectic and unpredictable – elements that make it an unmissable addition to your March diary. Hosted between the fig trees in magnificent Botanic Park, the festival tunes-up as the sun sets Friday evening before the Queen’s Birthday long weekend (March 11-14) – meaning you’ve three more full days of music to enjoy before even thinking about heading back to work.
From tight Japanese funk to African gospel to De La (Freaking) Soul and everything (and we mean EVERYTHING) in between, their schedule is formidable and fascinating. See the full programme and book here.
#5 Footy’s back!
The redeveloped Adelaide Oval has brought footy back to town in a big way. Walking distance from the CBD and easily accessible from pretty much anywhere around town, the arena remains one of the best places to watch live sport anywhere in the country. Sink mid-strength tinnies under the old scoreboard and spill sauce on your gurnsy as Port Adelaide chase the Sherrin against Saint Kilda in a round one AFL clash on March 27.
#6 Browse one of the city’s galleries – big and small
The big… The Art Gallery of South Australia is offering free, guided tours each day at 11am, 2pm and 3pm throughout March. Explore their Magic Object exhibition as part of the 2016 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art. There are also free artist and curator lunch hour talks and special events – read more here.
The small… FELT Space is a local collective presenting some of the most interesting and varied work by emerging artists. Their latest exhibition opens on March 2 and features a double-bill: Slime Time: Anna Gore, and The One on One watching us watching them: Ella Sowinska. Located down a side street near the Central Markets (Crompton Ave), the petite little space has a reputation for stellar exhibitions and riotous opening nights.
#7 Go market-to-market
Market Shed on Holland has a real handle on Sundays. Bustling from the early hours, the City-West venue hosts produce sellers and food vendors – all from the local surrounds. There’s an honest, organic feel to the place (which trades only on Sundays) and both the quality and variety of seasonal goods is unsurpassable. Fill your belly then stock the pantry.
On Sunday March 20 the Adelaide Night Market will again takeover North Terrace, lining-up hawker food venders alongside handmade clothing stalls, artists, homewares and more. It’s a vibrant affair with live music and a great atmosphere, running from 4-8pm.
(Lead image: Market Shed on Holland)
Check out Qantas flights to Adelaide here or check out the fare finder below.
Tim lives life between the coffee-shop and the cinema. He's a writer whose words have appeared in GRAM and Broadsheet, and he operates under the moniker @timmyvolume across most social sites.