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From grassroots to great heights

At Play Cultural Heart People of Adelaide

Autumn is a beautiful time to experience Adelaide. The days are still warm and long but the evenings are starting to cool down, making it ideal for enjoying events that fill the city with life.

Among these are some of the major festivals that have helped establish Adelaide as a global cultural city, along with smaller events that keep the creative calendar humming year-round.

The City of Adelaide supports activity across the spectrum, as events, both large and small, contribute significantly to the cultural and economic landscape.

Christie Anthoney is CEO of Festivals Adelaide, which represents South Australia’s eleven major arts festivals¹.

“Through diverse programs encompassing multiple art forms, these world-class festivals bring creative vitality to Adelaide, grow the city’s international cultural standing and give local artists the chance to perform to audiences from near and far. Economically, these eleven festivals alone generate $80 million of ‘new money’ annually for South Australia, attract 58,700 visitors, reach audiences of 3.8 million and create 850 full time equivalent jobs.”²
Christie Anthoney, CEO, Festivals Adelaide

As well as supporting many high-profile festivals, the City of Adelaide is committed to collaborating with the creative community to establish Adelaide as a cultural incubator, where entrepreneurs can find opportunities to grow. One avenue offering assistance to help deliver city-based creative projects is the City’s Arts and Cultural Grants Program.

Community Programs and Events grants are available to fund activities which will contribute to the city being a welcoming and dynamic place.

“Events which foster intercultural understanding are an important part of what makes Adelaide such a pleasant city to live, work and visit – so Council is always keen to consider providing support to multicultural activities which celebrate diversity and inclusiveness.” said City of Adelaide Area Councillor Natasha Malani.

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Sanaa Festival.

Victoria Lewis is an aspiring documentary filmmaker and founder of Adelaide based not-for-profit Sanaa Ink, which incorporates the festival platform Sanaa: A better world through creativity – a recent recipient of a Community Programs and Events grant.

Debuting in 2017, the platform celebrates the power of art and creativity, and its capacity to increase intercultural understanding. Through visual and street art, music, performance, poetry, workshops and storytelling, it explores and shares cultures. The festival was inspired by street artists Victoria met on trips to East and West Africa, in the first instance to film Slum Ballet, a short documentary showcasing the positive power of art.

“The raw artistic talent of the artists was exceptional, edgy and something I felt Australia hadn’t had much exposure to,” said Victoria. “The documentary was the reason for bringing five artists to Adelaide, but it grew into much more.”

As well as the artists transforming Eliza Street in the city’s west with colourful murals, the Sanaa Festival held workshops, an exhibition, an artist talk and a street festival attracting some 2,000 people. In 2018, the Sanaa Festival (5 – 17 March) returns to revolutionise Adelaide’s West End. The festival will showcase the work of six visiting artists from East and West Africa, who will work in collaboration with three South Australian artists to create new murals. The free Sanaa Street Festival on 17 March will showcase the talent of South Australia’s diverse multicultural community. It will again deliver workshops, Sanaa Exhibition, school visits, an artist talk and a keynote speaker/poet.

“Through the street festival we try to provide a platform for untapped talents within Adelaide’s multicultural communities to express themselves,” said Victoria. “If we’re not sourcing new talent or new ideas, a city can’t diversify its artistic scene.

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Sanaa Festival.

Big ticket events are great, but for a city to be creative and have a year-round vibe, this means investing in individuals at the grassroots level - people who may not otherwise have the chance to show what they can do."
Victoria Lewis, founder, Sanna Ink

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Immersive and interactive eating experiences with Post Dining.

Stephanie Daughtry and Hannah Rohrlach’s Post Dining is another player on Adelaide’s grassroots events scene. They push the boundaries of conventional dining experiences by creating immersive events showcasing local musicians, food producers, artists and venues. Through a Quick Response Grant, the City of Adelaide supported Post Dining’s 2017 Winter Solstice 1.0 event.

“The big arts festivals allow local creatives to see what’s going on internationally, and help expand their ideas and concepts,” said Stephanie. “Without direction and the representation of opportunity, there can't be a lot of hope for emerging artists to go further in their practice. In the same way, seeing other emerging creatives in your city going out on a limb in their practice, can be encouraging when you’re starting out.”

From 1 – 4 March, Post Dining Bite Sized will take inquisitive minds on another multi-sensory dining experience as part of the 2018 Adelaide Fringe.

¹ Visit for a list of the eleven festivals
² Festivals Adelaide 2016 Economic Impact Study

Article by

Skye Murtagh

Skye Murtagh

Skye is passionate about sharing stories from all walks of life. When she's not busy weaving beautiful words together, she's singing a line or two from her favourite song.