Get ready to watch the 3 best music festivals in Adelaide, Australia

blog music festival stage
Gareth Meade
8 Sep, 2022
8 minutes to read

An Adelaide music festival for all tastes

Adelaide, in South Australia, might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of Australian music festivals. Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay Bluesfest and Meredith Music Festival are the ones that usually make the headlines. But like the unassuming city itself, the city practically pulses with creativity of great events throughout the year, featuring not only music from local and national artists, but art, food, theatre and everything in between.

If you’re thinking of heading to music festivals Adelaide to soak up some of the culture, don’t forget to grab a hire car from GoSee. With your own wheels, you’ll have the flexibility of making your own itinerary and being sure you can where you need to, when you need to. And in anticipation of you doing just that, we’ve put together three of the best music festivals, offering something for everyone, that Adelaide has to offer. Add these to your calendar, especially if you are in the "Festival State", and make the most of an incredible South Australia road trip.

WOMADelaide is a music festival feast for the senses

Attracting a crowd of around 20,000 people each day for four days, WOMADelaide takes over Adelaide's stunning Botanic Park with music, art installations, discussion panels and so much more. The festival is incredibly family-friendly, with children 12 and under get free entry. Because of WOMADdelaide’s central location, when you land in Adelaide, you can grab your hire car from Adelaide airport and then make your way to your accommodation and not worry about being far away from the excitement. Parking at the festival is limited, so leave your rental car behind and take public transport or walk. There are plenty of hotels in walking distance of Botanic Park, including the Comfort Hotel and Majestic Minima on Melbourne Street or the Oval Hotel right in front of the Adelaide Oval sports ground.

A couple at a music festival.
A kangaroo with a joey in its pouch.

What to enjoy

Once you’re at this award-winning celebration festival, you’ll have access to a diverse selection of food, many bars and refreshment stations, the Global Village marketplace, and of course the thing you really came for, incredible live music. In the past, WOMADelaide has hosted the likes of Courtney Barnett, L.A.B., Midnight Oil, The Teskey Brothers, Mavis Staples and hundreds of others going all the way back to 1992. For their 2023 event, the festival organisers have already lined up international acts Bon Iver and Florence + The Machine, with more to be confirmed closer to the festival’s March starting time. It’s important to note that the festival is cashless, so you’ll need to bring a credit or debit card before you land Adelaide showground.

Book early

Excited to attend this iconic open-air festival? Don’t leave your car hire or accommodation booking too late, as many of WOMADelaide’s visitors come from overseas and interstate, so prices will definitely go up closer to the time. Make sure to keep a few days free either side of the festival so that you can enjoy more of Adelaide or explore more of South Australia. You can easily get to Australia’s ‘Zoo without Fences’, Kangaroo Island, which is just a few hours south of the city, including a ride on the car ferry.

A brand new Adelaide music festival

2022 will see the launch of a brand-new music festival, Harvest Rock, taking place in Adelaide’s Rymill and King Rodney Parks. Like WOMADelaide, this is a very convenient central location, so you can leave you hire car at your accommodation while you attend. Happening over 2 days in November, you can go one day and the travel the next or get the full experience of both days across the weekend.

Who’s playing? 

Believe us when we tell you that Harvest Rock are coming in hot. Confirmed for the festival are:

  • Jack White, for his only Australian show
  • Kiwi and Aussie legends Crowded House
  • English superstar Sam Fender
  • Local heroes The Avalanches
  • Dance chart toppers Groove Armanda
  • And many more

This electronic music line-up should satisfy most fans and will no doubt be a huge 2 days for the city.

Four people near a stage at a music festival.
People dining outside on a street corner in Adelaide.

What you need to know

Harvest Rock takes place Saturday, November 19 and Sunday, 20 November, with different line-ups each day. Depending on where you’re staying, the best way to get to Harvest Rock will be walking or public transport. There are buses, trains and light rail that will get you close by. Once you’re at the festival, you’ll have multiple food and drink options available to you, so that you can keep your energy up throughout the day. Harvest Rock is a family friendly event, as long as those under 18 are accompanied by an adult at all times. And good news for the little rockers, children aged 12 and under get in for free! If you have the means, you can also consider getting a VIP pass, which gets you access to exclusive areas, a dedicated entry line and the use of ‘fancy’ toilets.

Make it a long weekend

Adelaide is fast gaining a reputation as a boutique metropolis with all the food, wine bars and hotels that come along with that label. Stay a few days either side of Harvest Rock and make the most of your trip, exploring Adelaide Central Market, The Original Coopers Alehouse, Glenelg or Brighton Beaches, Rundall Mall and the Art Gallery of South Australia.  Having a hire car at your disposal is a great way to get access to everything that will make your Adelaide holiday a special one.

Ensure that you grab tickets for the shows you want to see, as capacity is limited at a lot of the venues, and you may not be able to get in without one.
A person DJing in a nightclub.

Experience more than music at Adelaide Fringe

Okay, we know that Adelaide Fringe Festival isn’t strictly a music festival, but it can claim the title of the biggest arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere, so we thought it was only fitting to include Adelaide Fringe. Taking place over 31 days and nights, you can choose from over a thousand shows encompassing everything from cabaret, comedy, visual arts and of course, music. Because of its massive scope, Fringe has events across South Australia, as well as in Adelaide CBD, which means that having your own car will give you a greater chance of taking it all in. To get an idea of where you can park your hire car near the festival venues, visit the City of Adelaide website.

How to get started

To get started with choosing which events you want to see, grab the Fringe Guide, which is generally available a couple of months out from when the festival begins. It is available both physically from the Box Office in Rundall Mall, and digitally via their website. You can then plan where you need to be and when you need to be there to get the most out of your trip. Ensure that you grab tickets for the shows you want to see, as capacity is limited at a lot of the venues, and you may not be able to get in without one. Like with any Fringe festival, it’s best to take risks with what you see. With so many shows with world-class musicians, the performances are obviously going to be a huge mixed bag, but you’re bound to have a story or two to share if you go with the flow and expect the unexpected.

Head further afield

Thanks to the breadth of Adelaide Fringe, you can explore even more of South Australia, including places like Whyalla, approximately 4 and half hours from Adelaide. The road will take you through diverse landscapes, including vast desert. Once you’re in Whyalla, along with the Fringe Festival events, you can check out Whyalla Conservation Park, dive with Cuttlefish, or visit Point Lowly Lighthouse. Having a hire car at your disposal makes it all possible!

Aerial view of Whyalla by the ocean.

Ready to book?

A Coober Pedy sign in the desert.

There’s more of South Australia's gem to explore 

Adelaide and it's surrounding suburbs in South Australia is Australia’s fourth-largest state and features a bevy of places to see that are a bit off the beaten track. You can find some of these in our Backyard Bucket List Australia, which suggests some unusual, hidden, fantastic and awesome locations in the state. In South Australia alone, there is Magnetic Hill, Coober Pedy, Umpherston Sinkhole and the intriguing sounding Crocodile Harry’s Underground Nest Dugout. Armed with your own set of wheels, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to make a trip to Adelaide and South Australia one to remember!