The Adelaide Fringe has developed into one of the most diverse arts festivals in the world. Thousands of artists, with the support of local and international producers and presenters, will again bring a multitude of extraordinary shows to Fringe venues in Adelaide and beyond.
- Lord Mayor, Ms Sandy Verschoor and members of the Adelaide City Council
- David Minear, Chair of the Adelaide Fringe and members of the Fringe Board
- Heather Croall, Director of the Fringe
- Nick Reade, Chief Executive of BankSA, the Fringe’s Principal Partner
- Life Members of the Adelaide Fringe
- Members of the Adelaide Fringe Donors Circle
- 2019 Adelaide Fringe Ambassadors – Ms Judith Lucy,
Mr Gavin Wanganeen and Hans (Mr Matt Gilbertson)
I acknowledge we are meeting on the traditional lands of the Kaurna people and that we respect their spiritual relationship with their country.
We also acknowledge the Kaurna people as the custodians of the Adelaide region and that their cultural and heritage beliefs are still as important to the living Kaurna people today.
We also pay respects to the cultural authority of Aboriginal people visiting from other areas of South Australia and our nation.
Good evening and welcome everyone to the celebrations that mark the opening night of the 37th Adelaide Fringe.
Since the first Fringe 59 years ago, this event has become the world’s second largest arts festival, and the largest in the southern hemisphere.
This is an outstanding achievement for a city of our size.
But an entirely understandable one for all of those who know how dynamic the arts community is in our capital city.
The Fringe began as a small arts initiative by a few local artists in 1960.
As we can see all around the city, the Fringe has grown into the epic cornerstone of our Adelaide summer festival season, presented by artists from across the globe, and a much-loved staple of our cultural life in this State.
Another remarkable achievement of the Adelaide Fringe is that it sells around 40 percent of all multi-arts festival tickets in Australia.
Last year, the Adelaide Fringe sold 705,000 tickets and at this point sales are already tracking 20 percent above the same time last year and heading towards another bumper event in 2019.
The Fringe not only makes our city centre alive.
It reaches into many other areas of South Australia.
The Fringe on Tour program will be activating in Murray Bridge, Port Adelaide, the Adelaide Airport, Port Augusta, Mt Gambier and Whyalla.
Even the Westfield shopping centres and Ikea have Fringe activations.
I particularly acknowledge the role of Bank SA as the Principal Partner of the Adelaide Fringe.
Their very successful 14-year relationship shows how a corporate entity and an arts organisation can work together effectively to deliver amazing events to the community and support artists to produce and present their work.
This Partnership remains vital to the success of Adelaide Fringe.
I’m also pleased to recognise that over the past few years, the Fringe has also been building its relationships with First Nations cultures and people.
It has focussed on growing Aboriginal artists’ participation in the festival, resulting in a significant increase in the number of shows and events registered this year.
It has also increased employment of Aboriginal staff within the administrative side of the organisation, including traineeships in areas like event production.
The Fringe has recently welcomed Dr Odette Pearson, a woman of Kuku Yalanji (pronounced Yallangee) and Torres Strait Islander heritage, to its Board and appointed Mr Gavin Wanganeen, a descendent of the Kokatha people of the Western Desert area in South Australia, as the first Aboriginal artist to be a Fringe Ambassador.
The Fringe also aims to program projects that provide education and cultural awareness - like its signature project this year Yabarra – Gathering of Light
This new artwork has been designed and created by Karl Telfer and other members of the Kaurna Nation, to tell us their stories of this river - Karrawirra Parri - through light, sound and sculpture.
I am truly looking forward to seeing this ambitious – and what I know will be extraordinary – work.
But before that, we are about to hear about a fabulous initiative from the GO Foundation which is launching in Adelaide as a part of these Fringe opening night celebrations.
The connection between the Fringe and the GO Foundation is a shared desire to create opportunities for Indigenous youth and artists to tell their stories, and I look forward to hearing more about this initiative shortly.
In closing, I urge you all to enjoy this opening night.
You will find the Fringe has developed into one of the most diverse arts festivals in the world.
It has become renowned for fresh ideas, spontaneity and fun.
Literally thousands of artists, with the support of local and international producers and presenters, will again bring a multitude of extraordinary shows to Fringe venues in Adelaide and beyond.
May I encourage everyone to get out there and see as much work as you can.
Buy tickets to shows, hang around and watch the buskers in the Mall, head out to the free events at Fringe on Tour, get a selfie with the Fringe Ambassadors – Hans is shameless, he always says yes!
Most importantly, support these artists and small arts businesses to build sustainable careers and encourage them to come back next year, bring their friends, and be a part of the Fringe’s 60th celebrations!