Adelaide and South Australia's premier Arts & Entertainment coverage

The 2024 Adelaide Festival Smashes Attendance Records

The 2024 Adelaide Festival has delivered. Featuring a myriad of exclusive free and ticketed events, performances from festival giants to emerging stars of tomorrow, surprising spectacles in indoor and outdoor settings, this year’s Festival has evoked awe, contemplation, and thunderous applause from audiences. Record-breaking crowds flocked to AF 2024, immersing themselves in sessions in the shady gardens of Adelaide Writers’ Week; audiences were transfixed by the opening event on Glenelg beach at sunset, and by art practices pushing human endurance and boundaries to the limit. In its 39th edition, Adelaide Festival has done what it set out to do: provide a two-week festival packed with extraordinary, accessible events for everyone. 

Adelaide Festival has smashed attendance records with a total audience of 478,890 attending all Adelaide Festival and Writers’ Week events, both ticketed and free (including WOMADelaide), with a massive weekend of free events still to come. The total number of tickets sold to Adelaide Festival performances was 63,765. Interstate audiences remained committed to their annual festival pilgrimage to Adelaide, snapping up 30% of ticket sales. Additionally, sales at Dillons’ book tent at Adelaide Writers’ Week broke records with over 15,000 books sold across the week. 

Adelaide Festival Chair Tracey Whiting said: “The 2024 Adelaide Festival has been a celebration of the vibrancy of the arts and the spirit of our community. From standout performances to thought-provoking exhibitions, it has resonated with audiences from all walks of life. As we commend the dedication of the Festival team, we look forward to nurturing creativity and fostering cultural connections in the years to come.”

Minister for Arts Andrea Michaels MP said: “The 2024 Adelaide Festival stands as a testament to our city’s cultural richness and innovation, attracting record crowds. From Stephen Page’s Baleen Moondjanat Glenelg beach to Bart van Peel’s mesmerizing Whale installation, Barrie Kosky’s captivating The Threepenny Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre to AGSA’s beautiful Biennial, Inner Sanctum, the Festival has showcased extraordinary artistic brilliance and audiences have turned out in record numbers to witness it. The Malinauskas Government is committed to supporting our incredible Adelaide Festival and I congratulate the entire Adelaide Festival team on a remarkable 2024 event.”

Artistic Director Ruth Mackenzie CBE said: “Adelaide Festival is artist-led and has a proud tradition of presenting the best artists, both established stars and the stars of tomorrow, from around the world, including South Australia. We are so grateful to all our artists, partners, donors, sponsors, Creative Australia and especially the Government of SA, for making the 2024 Adelaide Festival so innovative and exciting.” 

Chief Executive of Adelaide Festival Kath Mainland CBE said: “Adelaide Festival stands as Australia’s premier international festival, and witnessing world-class international artists share the stage with their talented counterparts from South Australia has been an absolute delight. March in Adelaide, with its plethora of festivals, really is the best place in the world to be. Adelaide Festival offers an unparalleled experience to our artists and audiences, and we extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has played their part along the way.” 

Director of Adelaide Writers’ Week Louise Adler AM said: “Adelaide Writers’ Week 2024 is over: the weather gods smiled upon us, the many attendees were an attentive and appreciative audience, and enthusiastic book buyers filled the Dillons book tent. Dame Mary Beard reminded us that Ancient Rome has much to tell us about our time, Anna Funder claimed a place in the literary history books for Eileen Blair, the oft-ignored wife of George Orwell; Kylie Needham won the MUD Literary Prize, Richard Flanagan honoured his father, Richard Ford extolled the virtues of the short story, and Alastair Campbell serenaded the Town Hall on the bagpipes. Our six days together were marked by a generosity of spirit and a shared sense that the life of the mind matters as much as ever in these complicated times. Over 200 writers offered us laughter and tears, reflections and provocations, and much to think about until we congregate again in March 2025.”  

Free events by numbers
Free events have been a staple of the 2024 Adelaide Festival program. To date 317,125 attendees have taken advantage of free concerts, exhibitions and installations. This figure is expected to rise by over 75,000 after Little AmalFloods of Fire and Whale conclude at the end of the Festival. 

Highlights include: 

  • Adelaide Writers’ Week
    In her second year as director, Louise Adler led Adelaide Writers’ Week (AWW) from 2 – 7 March. Themed “The Past is Not Another Country,” the 39th AWW attracted 155,000 attendees from across South Australia and interstate to the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden. Across six days, 202 writers convened for 130 sessions, spanning both live and virtual formats. The event was live streamed into 155 libraries, schools, retirement villages, and nursing homes. The top-selling book was Technofeudalism: What Killed Capitalism by Yanis Varoufakis, followed by Bright Shining: How Grace Changes Everything by Julia Baird and Killing for Country: A Family Story by David Marr
  • Whale caused a sensation at Glenelg Beach and Elder Park, attracting 100,000 and 25,000attendees, respectively
  • Create4Adelaide an exhibition of new works created by young people to tackle climate change, has seen 6,958 go through the participatory project at the Bicentennial Conservatory
  • The 2024 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art Inner Sanctum at AGSA has so far seen 38,029people through the exhibition. It remains open until 2 June
  • I’ll Be Your Mirror at the State Library of South Australia was visited by an audience of 3,261
  • GONDWANA VR: The Exhibition at SA Museum attracted 4,736
  • Neoterica at Adelaide Railway Station has hosted 1,908 visitors
  • Dana Awartani and Bruce Nuske with Khai Liew at Samstag has had 3,548 visitors through
  • HARBINGERS: Care or Catastrophe at Walkway Gallery in Bordertown attracted audiences of 2,887

Free events still to come

  • The centrepiece free event of this year’s Festival is Little Amal: an iconic 3.5-metre-tall puppet who will be in Adelaide from Friday 15 March – Sunday 17 March for three days of free celebrations. Little Amal will appear on Friday at Festival Plaza and Rundle Mall; on Saturday at Semaphore Beach and Floods of Fire: Our Voices, Our Dreams at University of Adelaide; and on Sunday she will walk across the Riverbank Pedestrian Bridge with Port Adelaide Football Club fans
  • The festival-within-a-festival Floods of Fire is directed by international theatre maker Airan Berg, and commissioned and led by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, in partnership with the Adelaide Festival, The University of Adelaide in celebration of its 150th anniversary, AEDA andCity of Adelaide. The first part of the event, Floods of Fire: Our Voices, Our Dreams, will see 80 free performances, songs, workshops, presentations and roving performances, involving more than 1,700 participants and takes place on Saturday 16 March from 2 – 6pm at The University of Adelaide grounds

Do not miss the final weekend!

The 2024 Adelaide Festival still has several incredible shows and events leading into the final weekend:

  • Jungle Book reimagined: Plays three shows at the Festival Theatre
  • Antigone in the Amazon: Milo Rau returns to Adelaide with four shows at the Dunstan Playhouse
  • Wayfinder: Dancenorth Australia’s hit show plays three shows the Space Theatre
  • Víkingur Ólafsson: The Icelandic pianist performs two concerts – Adelaide Town Hall on Friday and UKARIA Cultural Centre on Sunday
  • Time Machine: Elizabeth Streb and STREB EXTREME ACTION come to Her Majesty’s Theatre across the final weekend
  • Blue: The play written by Thomas Weatherall holds its final shows at Scott Theatre
  • Marrow: Australian Dance Theatre’s world premiere plays at the Odeon until Sunday
  • Goldner String Quartet: The 2020s: The Quartet plays at Adelaide Town Hall on Saturday night as part of their 30th and final season
  • Floods of Fire: Our Celebration with Electric Fields & the ASO: For one show only, the award-winning electronic music duo (and recently announced Eurovision entrants) Electric Fields joins the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in a program featuring new music created for Floods of Fire
  • I Hide in Bathrooms: Plays at Vitalstatistix until Saturday
  • The Tree of Light: Three shows at Slingsby’s Hall of Possibility on Friday and Saturday
Share your love

Popular News

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. We don’t send any spam email ever!