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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 AF24, 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 Moondjan at 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 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 Amal, Floods of Fire and Whale conclude at the end of the Festival.  

<pImage: Premier Peter Malinauskas MP with Little Amal. Photo by Tony Lewis.