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It’s Mad March, there’s a lot going on, and your budget is stretched thin but you don’t want to miss out on the Festival – want to know how you can have your cake and eat it too?

Adelaide Festival isn’t just about big names and ‘sometimes’ big prices; we also have big names and low prices or even, *gasp* NO PRICES. To help you partake in this plethora of culture, we have compiled a list of the best free events we have to offer this festival season. See them all or just pick a couple, we have something for everyone.


National Geographic Symphony for Our World

Sat 2 Mar, 8.30pm

Elder Park

The free opening night concert is set to be a spectacle for all ages – watch National Geographic footage on the big screen as it’s brought to life with soaring live music featuring Aurora, the Festival Statesmen Chorus and the Adelaide Festival Orchestra conducted by Jessica Gethin. This will be one gorgeous and awe-inspiring night in the park.



Sat 2 Mar – Sun 2 Jun

Art Gallery of South Australia

This is the first major survey exhibition in a decade of one of Australia’s most acclaimed contemporary artists, Ben Quilty. Featuring a career’s worth of works, it’s exciting and compulsory viewing.


Breakfast with Papers

Mon 5 Mar – Fri 15 Mar

The Palais

Host Tom Wright and his panel of informed guests mull over the news of the day and big issues of the moment. Sip on a coffee from CIBO Espresso and flick through the Advertiser in a relaxed, intellectually stimulating start to the day.


Festival Forums

Fri 1 Mar – Fri 15 Mar

The Palais

The Palais is the place to be at lunch time as David Marr interviews Festival guests each day, opening up the Festival experience through the eyes of the artists.


Another Life: Human Flows / Unknown Odysseys

Fri 1 Mar – Sun 17 Mar

Festival Theatre Foyer, Adelaide Festival Centre

This mighty exhibition from the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography takes the work from twenty-six photographers and chronicles one of the greatest dramas of recent history: the endless flow of desperate people out of Africa across the Mediterranean.  Ranging from raw portraiture to nightmarish visions to surreal images, this profoundly affecting collection demands to be seen and talked about.


Picaresque Exhibition

Fri 8 Mar – Sun 17 Mar

Banquet Room, Adelaide Festival Centre

Visit the world without leaving Adelaide in Robyn Archer’s intriguing exhibition, Picaresque. Constructed from flat-pack architectural models of iconic and everyday buildings from every city she has visited, come in out of the heat and wander this great world.

and the earth sighed

Sat 2 Mar – Sun 17 Mar

South Australian Museum

A combination of cinema, aerial cartography and sublime landscape photography, this exhibition is a large scale floor projection that allows us to see climate change in real time. Kids can ‘swim’ in hyper-real ocean projections and grown-ups can ‘kick’ the virtual sand as they stride across deserts.


Adelaide Writers’ Week

Sat 2 Mar – Thu 7 Mar

Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden

Join us under the trees for Australia’s largest free literary event – listen to writers talk about ideas, the worlds they’ve created, the characters they’ve imagined and breath in the fresh air as they do it.


Twilight Talks

Mon 4 Mar – Tue 5 Mar

Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden

A new addition to the Writers’ Week schedule, the Twilight Talks are for those who can’t get away from work during the day – come and listen as AWW guests chat about moments that made them the people they are, and respond to the Festival’s themes.


Kids Day

Sat 2 Mar

Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden

A magical day in the gardens full of stories, parades, and adventures to entertain and inspire our youngest readers. With guest appearances from local celebrities, a library to sit and read from, and a mural to help create, this is the perfect place to start your family’s weekend.


A Day for Middle & YA Readers

Sun 3 Mar

Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden

Writers’ Week offers a day specifically for tweens and teens with spoken word performances and events by Australia’s best authors writing for readers aged 8 -18.


The Violet Ballet

Sat 2 Mar – 27 April

ACE Open, Lion Arts Centre

Sally Smart’s use of collage, textiles, costumes, dance, film and shadow puppetry present a dynamic mise en scene in her examination of the hybrid fairytale, Chout, with the entwined legacies of colonialism and orientalism.


Roger Ballen

Wed 27 Feb – Sun 31 Mar

GAGPROJECTS, Greenaway Art Gallery

A major retrospective of one of the most important photographic artists of the past 50 years, this exhibition confronts viewers and challenges them to join Ballen on a journey into their own minds as he explores the recesses of his own.



Thu 28 Feb – Sun 17 Mar

Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art

A series of solo exhibitions from four brilliant, witty artists that look at identity, post-colnialism and migration.



Fri 1 Mar - Sun 17 Mar

Mystery CBD Location

While the "behind the scenes" experience is ticketed, a wander in the shopfront of this installation is not! This pop-up store has a business model where guilt is a raw material that gets manufactured, objectified and capitalized. 


Not free, but…

Don’t forget, whilst we do have a great range of free events, we do also have Under 30 and Under 18 tickets and our Pay What You Can scheme. If you have a current Healthcare Card, Pension Card or full time student card, you can access Pay What You Can for a selection of shows – visit the page for more information!

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