The 2008 Adelaide Festival was held from Friday, February 29 to Sunday, March 16, led by Artistic Director Brett Sheehy.
Sheehy’s second Adelaide Festival maintained the event’s dedication to producing works across all art forms, including opera, classical music, literature, visual arts and film and explored the theme of light and enlightenment.
Festival highlights included the opera Ainadamar, the much-loved and expanded festival club Persian Garden and Northern Lights celebrating the entire North Terrace precinct as a great cultural boulevard, complemented by events in every major venue along the strip. Northern Lights was funded by the South Australian Premier to continue for an additional two weeks beyond its scheduled duration and was seen by more than 300,000 people.
Works inspired by Eastern arts and religions traversed the theme of enlightenment, including Akram Khan’s Sacred Monsters with Sylvie Guillem, Leonard Cohen and Philip Glass’ Buddhist-inspired Book of Longing, the Indian/Sri Lankan A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Mahavishnu Orchestra’s Meeting of the Spirits and John Adams’ Buddhist/Kerouac-inspired Dharma at Big Sur.
Musical Mavericks was an examination of classical music with Australia and the world’s great living composers, presenting the work of composers including Pärt, Kats-Chernin, Gorecki, Farr, Adams, Sculthorpe, Hosokawa, Glass, Adès, Golijov, Hindson, Westlake, MacMillan, Meale and Roumain.