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South Australia loves a party. We are the festival state – one proud to break new ground. Innovation is crucial when delivering major events, and so too is fostering a culture in which they continue to thrive. Our place as host of the best, brightest celebrations is directly linked to the bold steps taken decades ago. The story goes on.

Among the crowd at our largest events we may forget each had to earn its audience. The Santos Tour Down Under. Adelaide Festival. Adelaide Fringe. WOMADelaide. Together they shape summer, as much a fixture as beach days and balmy nights. But their success over decades has not been by chance. And their futures depend on continuing to innovate.

Highlights continue across every season. South Australia is the proud host of Tasting Australia presented by RAA Travel – the nation’s longest-running eating and drinking festival – and the VAILO Adelaide 500, its best supercars race. Newer annual arrivals such as Illuminate Adelaide and Harvest Rock have resonated with audiences eager for bold, authentic programming and performance. Two
groundbreaking events also made their debut this year: the AFL’s Gather Round and LIV Golf Adelaide. Following them is Frida & Diego: Love & Revolution, an Australian exclusive art exhibition also set to draw thousands of interstate and overseas visitors. In 2023 major events and festivals are expected to add $400 million to the South Australian visitor economy. Still we strive for more.

Being a challenger brand means our state isn’t simply open to pushing boundaries. We push them – then we go further. This requires bold leadership from the very top, and a vision that transcends events. That vision is about a more prosperous South Australia and a platform upon which the state can tell its stories and bring communities together through major events.

Innovation across major South Australian events and festivals shapes both their establishment and evolution. The arrival of covid in 2020 again prompted fresh thinking, this time to ensure our flagship events could still take place. Since that upheaval we have greater licence to work creatively, and a renewed desire to deliver in different ways.

At LIV Golf Adelaide, for instance, the state joined a fellow challenger brand to question the norm and bring world-class golf to our capital. But that alone wasn’t enough. We activated the city and created the now famous Watering Hole, sharing our passion for a party – and South Australia’s story – like never before. It’s this energy that sets South Australia apart. It’s this capacity to add value, to earn attention, that ensures we turn events into festivals.

South Australia’s modern identity was forged through the bravery to engage and innovate. Now, as our state sets itself for the future and our visitor economy surges forward, we remain ready to seize new opportunities.

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