The huge 2017 Adelaide Festival is underway at the city’s new venue the Riverbank Palais and surrounding Parc Palais.
Some events were already sold out before opening weekend, and ticket sales are the highest on record. Additional performances have been added due to popular demand for some shows.
Headlining the festival are US singer-songwriter Kurt Vile, US godfather of chillwave Toro Y Moi, and Aussie music legends The Bamboos.
The Riverbank Palais commemorated its opening night by harking back to the historic Adelaide venue that inspired it—the legendary Floating Palais de Danse of the 1920s—with a swinging concert of 1920s music by Andrew Nolte and his Orchestra.
Opening night festivities spread onto the Adelaide Riverbank in Parc Palais, with live music from a range of local bands and DJs in the rotunda, and the exciting House of Mirrors maze.
A smash hit at the Sydney Festival and Hobart’s Dark Mofo, House of Mirrors is an interactive art installation. Created by Melbourne artists Christian Wagstaff and Keith Courtney from 40 tonnes of steel and 15 tonnes of mirrored glass, the walk-in maze features corridors of full-length mirrors, arranged to produce kaleidoscopic chambers in a labyrinth of intrigue.
The 18-day festival features more than 60 free and ticketed acts involving more than 130 artists and special guests. The Riverbank Palais is lighting up the Torrens nightly with a huge rotation of live bands, DJs, theatre shows, lunchtime forums and special events.
The entertainment is complemented by a sumptuous selection of food and beverages in the surrounding Parc Palais in Elder Park, curated by creative genius Gill Minervini (Dark Mofo Winter Feast, City of Sydney Events) and overseen by Adelaide chef Duncan Welgemoed (Africola, Lola’s Pergola).
The Riverbank Palais is hosting nightly concerts, with performances by groups including the Hot 8 Brass Band from New Orleans, with an eclectic mix of marching band jazz, funk, RnB and hip-hop; and Mexican band Mexrrissey, who put a unique spin on Morrissey hits with their seven-piece Latin rhythms. Other acts range from salsa to indie folk to electronica.
Theatre also takes centre stage on The Riverbank Palais program with two shows. The Duke is a funny, poignant and playful show from writer/performer Shôn Dale-Jones, with half the proceeds going to Save the Children’s Child Refugee Crisis. Who Am I? is former Sale of the Century champion Russell Cheek’s funny and heart-warming account of his attempt to scale the summit of Australian quiz shows.
Journalist and commentator Annabel Crabb is hosting The F Word, a series of early evening conversations with prominent women from across the Adelaide Festival and Adelaide Writers’ Week. Guests include award-winning author Kate Grenville, acclaimed filmmaker Lynette Wallworth, celebrated Australian chef Christine Manfield, and lauded columnist and self-confessed “loud woman” Lindy West. The events promise fascinating conversation about a range of F words: female, feminist, fun, food and festival.
A popular feature has been the weekend Riverbank Palais Long Lunches, each helmed by a different iconic Australian chef.
Minister for the Arts Jack Snelling said, “I’m pleased that through the State Government’s support of the Palais’ construction, we have not only been able to help create over 40 additional jobs involved in construction and development of the venue, but we have also supported the festival in programming over 50 local artists who will perform at the Adelaide Riverbank over the duration of this year’s event.”
Adelaide Festival Artistic Directors Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy are thrilled to unveil the debut program for their new venue.
“We have such pleasure in delivering to you the heart and hub of our festival, our stately pleasure dome, the floating Riverbank Palais,” Armfield said.
“We are delighted our vision has received such generous support from the SA Government and all our partners and benefactors,” said Healy.
The Riverbank Palais and Parc Palais are open until March 19. Entry to Parc Palais is free. The Riverbank Palais will feature both free and ticketed events.
Tickets to all Adelaide Festival shows, including the Riverbank Palais program, are on sale now.