Adelaide Events South Australia

Mad March comes to Adelaide: Top Five Picks

Editor’s Note: From our contributor in Adelaide, the top 5 picks for Mad March.

Adelaide is a quiet town. While our political leaders talk up the relevancy that South Australia has to the rest of the nation, and the world, with talk of famous wines and a bike race, it remains a quiet corner of Australia which should revel in its own unique identity, not be embarrassed by it.

Nor should it try to be something it’s not. Adelaide is the quiet, introverted kid in the corner who hunkers down and just does. And every now and then, that kid gets their sugar high.

Enter Mad March.

During the four weeks of March each year, Adelaide is invited to a party to which it hurriedly gorges itself silly on all the sweets, cakes and ice cream at the venue before running outside to play with the proverbial puppies and jump on the metaphorical trampoline. It flits from one activity to the next, covering as many areas and meeting as many different walks of life as possible.

Adelaide Fringe, Garden of Unearthly Delights

For four weeks, Adelaide becomes everything to everyone. Here are the top 5 picks:

Adelaide Fringe

Casting aside such frivolous and archaic constraints like the Gregorian calendar, the Adelaide Fringe kicked off Mad March on 15 February and will continue to revel on until the 17th of March. Venues around Adelaide spring up from seemingly nowhere, and Rundle Mall heaves at its seams with more buskers than usual.

The Adelaide Fringe festival is second only to Edinburgh’s iconic festival in terms of size (it boasts being the largest arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere), with streets closed, and marquees erected as the event washes through the town. Due to the nature of the open format, acts can range from comedy to cabaret, from puppetry to dance.

The Garden of Unearthly Delights

Yet another event that shrugs off the constraints of Mad March and beginning on the 14th of February and continuing through to the 17th of March 2013, The Garden of Unearthly Delights occupied a large portion of Rundle Park, located on the far eastern side of the city and plays shows until past midnight.

Shows are diverse, featuring renown comedians, musicians, musician comedians, cabaret, theatre, circus performance, puppetry (even shows for the kids) and dance. The Garden is otherworldly upon entry, like stepping over the threshold into an almost Dali-esque dream, featuring a buskers, bars, and myriad tents for the major performers.

Entry to the garden is free, allowing you to roam around the park and indulge in what’s on show, although organisers do warn that there is a limit on numbers in the garden and priority is given to holders of tickets to shows that evening.

Adelaide Festival

As the actual month of March begins, so too does the Adelaide Festival. The Adelaide Festival is a celebration of the arts, inviting prominent world musicians, writers, dancers and artists. Joining the Adelaide Festival is Adelaide Writers’ Week, allowing all lovers of things literary and aspiring novelists to flock together and drench themselves in the glories of wordsmithing*.

*With apologies to any competent writers out there who just read that and cringed.

Clipsal 500

In what is a glorious tonal shift from the previous two events that focussed on artistic displays, a prominent event in Mad March is the petrol-fuelled mayhem that is the Clipsal 500. Following the departure of the Formula 1 race to that state (which might still irk some locals), this event was forged and serves to kick off the V8 Supercar season on 28 February through to 3 March 2013. For four days and nights, the Clipsal 500 is heard all over the city, with car engines roaring, helicopters, planes and jets flying overhead, concerts pumping away until late and a street party for humming revellers.

Of course, having such events in the small space of Adelaide, there can be some brushing of elbows, such as in 2012 when a late night car race coincided with a concert featuring composer Ennio Morricone. An unfortunate incident, but one that could be considered part of the drama of Mad March.


The World of Music, Arts and Dance has become a fixture in Adelaide’s festival calendar for the past 20 years. Spanning the course of four days (8 March to 11 March 2013), the festival presents unique performances from artists from cultures from which audiences may not be familiar.

Held in Botanic Park on the eastern side of the city, near the Adelaide Zoo, seven stages will present various musicians, bands and artists, while inside the “Taste the World” tent, all comers can experience cooking demonstrations.

During these weeks the city has a buzz that sends electricity through the various streets and lanes of Adelaide, inviting anyone around to come watch, and be entertained. There is plenty to see and do, in addition to the Adelaide Cup, or the Future Music Festival that tours Australia during March.

Then, as March begins to close, Adelaide rubs its bleary eyes and sighs heavily, before slowly padding to its quiet corner and resumes the role as the quiet, introverted achiever.

Photographs courtesy of Andy H – All rights reserved.


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About the author

Andy Hunt

Andy is a freelance writer and author, having written and contributed to multiple publications on various topics, including travel, video games, food and martial arts. He has short stories under the name of AP Hunt which are available on Amazon. More on Andy H here