ADELAIDE comes alive with festival fever each March with a feast of entertainment and cultural events. While the Adelaide Festival, to be held from March 1-17, 2024, is regarded as the jewel with a host of premieres, the Adelaide Fringe (February 16 to March 17, 2024) attracts large crowds while WOMADelaide music festival in Adelaide’s Botanic Park (March 8-11, 2024) and Adelaide Writers’ Week (March 2-7, 2024) are also popular.
During festival time there’s a host of free events including concerts, exhibitions and installations, while Rundle Mall comes alive with buskers.
The 2024 Adelaide Festival has already announced its centrepiece event – Igor Stravinsky’s opera The Nightingale and Other Fables, directed by Canadian Robert Lepage and performed in Russian, starring Grammy Award-winning contralto Meredith Arwady, Ukrainian bass Taras Berezhansky and Australian tenor Andrew Goodwin.
It’s an international co-production between Opera National de Lyon, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Canadian Opera Company, Dutch National Opera in collaboration with Ex Machina and the State Opera South Australia.
The full program for the 2024 Adelaide Festival will be announced on October 24.
Byron Bay Bluesfest
THE five-day blues and roots music festival, showcasing a wide range of international artists, is held over the Easter long weekend, next year from March 28 to April 1, 2024 on the grounds of the Byron Events Farm in Tyagarah, NSW, close to the charming village of Mullumbimby and the holiday haven of Byron Bay.
From humble beginnings in 1990 with crowds of 6000 people, Byron Bay Bluesfest now attracts an audience of more than 100,000 fans.
The line-up of performers for 2024 – being announced progressively over coming months – includes veteran singers Tom Jones and Elvis Costello.
Enlighten Festival, Canberra
BILLED as a festival of culture and creativity, Canberra’s Enlighten Festival returns from March 1-17, 2024. The program of live music includes Symphony in the Park (March 10) and Enlighten Illuminations, where major buildings such as Parliament House and the National Gallery of Australia become canvases for digital art projected onto them.
A highlight is the Balloon Spectacular (March 9-17), where hot air balloons, many in colourful designs, float above the national capital at dawn.
Last year almost 400,000 people attended the Enlighten Festival.
Ord Valley Muster
KUNUNURRA in outback Western Australia is the gateway to the stunning East Kimberleys and home to the Ord Valley Muster, to be held from May 17-25, 2024.
The festival features performers, musicians, an open-air gallery of works by artists from the region, a comedy night, a corroboree under the stars and a street party.
Another popular attraction is the rodeo where cowboys attempt to remain in the saddle during a wild ride while competing for prize money.
Kununurra is a three-hour flight from Perth.
Port Fairy Folk Festival
THE picturesque seaside town of Port Fairy in western Victoria has been home to the Port Fairy Folk Festival since 1977, a celebration of music and culture as fans of folk, country, blues, jazz, traditional, contemporary and world roots music enjoy the Labour Day long weekend.
To be held from March 8-11, 2024, the festival features local and international headline acts, with tickets and accommodation usually sold out well before the event.
The heart of the festival is the multi-venue main arena, but events and free entertainment are spread throughout the town, including exhibitions, workshops, forums, roving performances and a community market.
Tamworth Country Music Festival
COUNTRY music fans from around Australia flock to Tamworth, 400 kilometres north-west of Sydney, for the family-friendly festival to be held from January 19-28, 2024.
Hundreds of performers will take to the pubs, clubs and hotels around Tamworth, while street performers are also part of the entertainment.
Adding to the carnival atmosphere are street stalls and a range of kid-friendly activities, many of which are free.
Last year more than 55,000 people attended the festival which culminates in the prestigious Golden Guitar Awards.