Surviving Mad March in Adelaide

February 3, 2016

There’s the Adelaide Fringe Festival, Adelaide Festival of Arts, Spirit Festival, WOMADelaide, Clipsal 500 and many more events during Mad March.

Now, we all know Mad March actually starts in February, which is why it’s important to get a proper warm up to prepare yourself for the crazy marathon that is Adelaide’s maddest time of the year.

Preparation:
Grab as many programs as you can and start circling things you want to see and do. If you’re coming from interstate, that may be determined by your travel plans, or your plans could be determined by the events. Either way, you’ll want to see and do as many things as you can during your stay, because Adelaide is wide awake and full to the brim with all the flavours of the world during February/March. There are wonderful things going on all over the place, so don’t just stick to the city. There are Fringe venues in Salisbury, McLaren Vale, Port Adelaide and all over the place that are just as exciting as the CBD hubs.

Buying tickets:

Find out what the hottest shows and events are and grab your tickets quickly. They will sell out fast. There are always discounted ‘last minute’ tickets available for Fringe Festival, so keep your eye on the box office and your ear to the ground on social media. A hot tip is to follow all of the festivals, events, news sites and arts blogs on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, because there are always ticket giveaways and promotions to win.

During the festival:

Make sure you have a carefully planned day/night where you see a couple of different shows. Take in some cabaret, music, comedy, dance and magic; there’s heaps on offer. Then, the following night, head into the city and have a completely unplanned night. Chat to the performers who are flyering for their show, wander into a freak show, check out Gluttony, Royal Croquet Club, The Garden of Unearthly Delights and the Adelaide Writers’ Festival. Eat from a food van, ride the Ferris wheel, grab some last minute rushtix, see a free event or just drink South Aussie wine under the stars and listen to the sounds of a festival.

Got kids?

There are many great shows for kids at Fringe Festival, BUT they sell out very fast so book tickets as soon as you can. The Adelaide Festival of Arts has a kids’ weekend, which is always great fun, and the Writers’ Festival has some fantastic sessions for children where they can even meet some of their favourite authors. WOMADelaide is free for kids under 12 and has a terrific kid zone with a range of great activities, and Spirit Festival and Clipsal are also wonderful experiences for kids and have plenty on offer for youngsters to see and do.

Transport:

There are a number of transport options during Mad March (with Koala Car Rentals being number one, of course), but there are a couple of tips from Adelaide locals which will improve your festival season experience. 

  • Leave plenty of time between shows if you have booked a couple in one night at different venues. If you are seeing a comedy act at Gluttony finishing at 8pm and have tickets to a burlesque show at 8:15 at Royal Croquet Club, you won’t make it on foot. There are rickshaws around the place that can take you there, but it’s best not to count on them as they are very popular.
  • Trams are a great way to get across the city and down to Glenelg. Buses and trains also run frequently all over Adelaide. You can download an Adelaide Metro app to show you bus, tram and train timetables.
  • The Clipsal 500 is an exciting car race that runs in the CBD. But that means there are many roads around the city that are closed off at that time. Bear this in mind when planning your events. Traffic is often held up so keep an eye on traffic reports on radio and social media for delays.
  • Taxis and Uber cars can take you where you need to be and are a great option if you are planning to indulge in Adelaide’s wine and beer on offer.   

Post Fringe:

Hitting the post Fringe Blues can be a bit of a downer but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Once you’ve worked off the food, drink and festive cheer at the gym, you can still get out and about in Adelaide to enjoy the awesome live music scene, restaurant culture, and visual art and theatre there is all year round in South Australia.

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