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The 1974 Adelaide Festival was held from Saturday, March 9 to Saturday, March 30, led by Artistic Director Anthony Steel.

It was the first festival to use the brand new Festival Theatre and the first of three successive festivals directed by Steel, who brought a fresh approach to the program with a clear artistic preference for the new, controversial and exciting.

Highlights of the program included recitals by Andre Tchaikowsky, the baritone Hans Hotter, the Brazialina guitarists, the Abreu brothers, the Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra, Jacques Loussier Trio, Stratford National Theatre of Canada, the South Australian Symphony Orchestra performing a “pop” concert conducted by Arthur Fiedler and Premier Don Dunstan's celebrated reading of Ogden Nash's verses to Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals to a sell-out audience at the zoo.