Events South Australia News


We hope this finds you enjoying South Australia’s jam-packed events calendar. There’s plenty to catch up on – in this update we’ll look back at the past three months, which have seen our state host everything from soccer to swimming and the sumptuous Tasting Australia.

Events South Australia News is your chance to stay updated on the events we manage, plus news on major and regional events we sponsor and examples of best practice. Each edition we get the inside word from an events industry member, and share opportunities for support and development. Not a subscriber? Head here to sign up, and don’t forget to download the South Australian events calendar from our website. Be sure to also check out to stay in the loop. If you have news to share we’d love to hear from you – please email our newsletter co-ordinator Alex Weaver here.

Events South Australia: the latest

Tasting Australia 2016 Tasting Australia 2016

Tasting Australia sizzles
We’re fresh back from all the excitement of Tasting Australia presented by Thomas Foods, a celebration of eating and drinking that unfolded from 1-8 May. Victoria Square was again transformed into Town Square, with tens of thousands streaming through the gates to enjoy food and wine from across South Australia. Festival fans won’t have to wait long for the next instalment: Tasting Australia is now annual and returns from 30 April-7 May 2017. Click here to see festival photos and videos, and be sure to select 2016 from the pull-down menu.

Santos Tour Down Under and Tour of Yorkshire Santos Tour Down Under and Tour of Yorkshire

Tour in UK partnership
The Santos Tour Down Under will receive further global promotion through a new partnership with the UK’s Tour de Yorkshire. The move is aimed at increasing awareness of both events, sharing knowledge and providing a mutual marketing boost. Santos Tour Down Under event manager Sally Heading was in Yorkshire from 29 April for this year’s race and handed out mini Australian road signs from a car emblazoned with mascot Oppy the kangaroo. Stay tuned for news on the 2017 Santos Tour Down Under, which will be launched in July.

Chris Kontos Chris Kontos

Fashionable face for festival
South Australian Chris Kontos has been named creative director of the 2016 Adelaide Fashion Festival. A prominent fashion industry identity, Chris has worked in retail, design, marketing and manufacturing and is passionate about supporting the state’s diverse range of designers. The Adelaide Fashion Festival will be held from 19-23 October, with the creative team – under the leadership of event manager Robyn Ingerson – now busy finalising the program.

Sponsored events

2016 Hancock Prospecting Australian Championships 2016 Hancock Prospecting Australian Championships

Spoilt for sporting choice
Events South Australia is proud to have supported many of the past summer’s largest sporting events. They include the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open from 18-21 February, which was held at Grange Golf Club. South Australia will host this tournament for at least the next two years; action will continue at Royal Adelaide from 16-19 February 2017.

Attention turned to Adelaide Oval for the Socceroos’ World Cup qualifier against Tajikistan on 24 March, which drew a crowd of more than 35,400 people. Dragon boating was also big – Adelaide hosted three events from 24 March, including the 2016 Club Crew World Championships from 1-7 April. An estimated 6000 visitors attended the three events at West Lakes. 

Action continued in the water at the 2016 Hancock Prospecting Australian Championships from 7-14 April. Competition was extra fierce as athletes raced for the chance to represent the nation at this year’s Rio Olympics and Paralympics. A total of 13,000 people were there to watch the action, while more than 4.5 million tuned in on TV over eight nights. Highlights included a new Commonwealth, Australian and All Comers record for Cam McEvoy who swam the 100m freestyle in a blistering 47.04 seconds. Three new Paralympic world records were also set, including one in the S9 50m freestyle by Ellie Cole. The meet followed the 2016 Georgina Hope Foundation Australian Age Championships (28 March-4 April), with both held at Marion’s South Australian Aquatic and Leisure Centre.

2016 WOMADelaide 2016 WOMADelaide. Photo credit: Tony Lewis

Milestone for WOMADelaide
Adelaide’s beloved celebration of world music, dance and discussion unfolded from 11-14 in March, and a huge crowd turned out to enjoy the 20th festival. Along with beats from over 400 contemporary musicians, WOMADelaide highlights included Sacrilege – artist Jeremy Deller’s interactive, life-sized replica of Stonehenge – and renowned environmentalist David Suzuki’s role in the Planet Talks program.

Around town

Clipsal 500 Adelaide Clipsal 500 Adelaide

Clipsal fires up fans
Motorsport supporters flocked to Clipsal 500 Adelaide from 3-6 March, with hundreds of thousands enjoying the high-octane event. Additions for this year included the New Holland EnduroX powered by Monster Energy – featuring 2016 Dakar rally winner Toby Price – plus a tribute to classic Holden and Ford muscle cars, a concert green, mobile app, the sold-out Senna platform with reserved tables and new pit exit corporate hospitality suites.

Adelaide Fringe Festival Adelaide Fringe Festival. Photo credit: Trentino Priori

Arts festivals thriving
Audiences have embraced the Adelaide Fringe like never before, snapping up more than 600,000 tickets to shows between 12 February and 14 March. Sales were up 12 per cent on last year; 60 per cent of tickets sold were for major outdoor hubs, while other venues accounted for the remaining 40 per cent. Thanks to a new Made in Adelaide initiative, nine independent South Australian acts will receive South Australian Government funding to take their work to this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 5-29 August.

Adelaide Festival of Arts Adelaide Festival of Arts

Adelaide Festival of Arts artistic director David Sefton delivered a record-breaking last hurrah from 26 February-14 March, with more than 500 international artists and writers taking part. Audiences enjoyed 20 Australian premieres and seven world premieres, along with 10 events by South Australian companies. We can’t wait to see what new co-artistic directors Neil Armfield AO and Rachel Healy present over the next three festivals.

Five minutes with...

Deb Alexander Deb Alexander

Deb Alexander is a go-to woman for events across the Riverland and Murray River, Lakes and Coorong regions. We asked Deb to share her thoughts amid a typically busy week.

Tell us about the many hats you wear.
Too many hats, but all worn with great pride and passion!

  • Murray River, Lakes & Coorong Tourism Alliance – Board member 2016
  • Tourism and marketing manager for the Mid Murray Council (part-time)
  • Executive officer for the Mannum Dock Museum/PS Marion (part-time)
  • Director of 180 Degrees Marketing & Management – Marketing/PR and events which includes Sounds by the River outdoor concert now in its eighth year at Mannum (in my spare time)
  • Deputy chair – Destination Riverland Tourism (Riverland-Blanchetown to above Renmark)
  • Ambassador for the Murray River (self-appointed)

What keeps you doing what you do?

I think the diversity of my roles and working with so many different event genres and projects from rock ‘n’ roll to river history. Working towards the success of events you are involved in certainly keeps driving you forward and the biggest accolade you can receive is that visitors and patrons who attend them have the best time, walk away happy and eager for the next event and keep talking about the event or place for the years to come.

Profiling destinations associated with events is the key and boosting the economic return for the region is the ultimate return as an event manager. Although we all need a budget, some of the events I have been involved in in recent years have had little or no budget and have attracted unexpected widespread visitation, such as the 100th anniversary of the PS Melbourne in Mildura where we expected 2000 and attracted 15,000 patrons and the 150th anniversary of Chowilla Station above Renmark attracting over 8000 visitors to a one-day event and over 70 boats from three states, which started off as a woolshed barbecue for 30 guests on the PS Marion – quite unbelievable!

I have made some unbelievable lifelong friends out of my years in tourism and events and the camaraderie events bring to a group of volunteers is truly amazing!

What are the benefits of holding events in your part of South Australia?
As we are only one hour from Adelaide, we have the advantage of being able to bring people to major events as a day tripper. They can catch a bus or drive and be home in their own bed that night.

In the past through desperate drought times, our river regions have suffered dramatically from a tourism and economic perspective. Events have kept us in the limelight that we are alive and are part of the Murray which is still flowing despite what the papers say.

I have been privileged to have worked with many dedicated and passionate community groups to bring events to their townships to keep their patch on the tourism radar and love taking their events into the spotlight through publicity I have generated.

Many community groups have started up events to ensure their townships remain sustainable and vibrant such as the Swan Reach Progress Association (population 300), creating the Swan Reach Country Music Festival, now in its fourth year with monies raised to upgrade their town hall for future events.

The Murray River is like a magnet, and when you have one of the Australia’s magnificent icons in your backyard as a backdrop, the event opportunities are endless and the strength of our communities is truly commendable!

How do you see Riverland/Murray River, Lakes and Coorong events evolving?
The key to regional event longevity is branding and publicity. Creating a unique brand that does not compete on a regional level and has a core element and theme to attract visitation.

As I play a strong tourism role in both regions and am involved in events such as the Murray River Giant Pumpkin Competition at the annual Cadell Harvest Festival and All Steamed Up – boats, blacksmiths and engine bi-annual event in Mannum, event dates are crucial to ensure all events have the chance to be successful and we need to encourage our communities to be ambassadors through social media and the all-important word of mouth to boost regional event profiles for the years to come.

We definitely have some stand-out events that have the potential to grow to national awareness, however we are restricted with marketing dollars and manpower.

After all of the years I have been associated with the magnificent Murray, I am always amazed so many people have never experienced its beauty or visited towns so close to Adelaide. Through events we hope we can encourage more to take the plunge and do the road trip as once you have been, you will always come back!

What three things would you take if you were stranded on a deserted island?
My fishing rod – finally I’d have some time to do something I love and never have time to do.
My best friend – she complains she never sees me and is a great hunter and collector so I wouldn’t starve!
A swag – I need some comfort!

Hopefully someone at home would put one of those messages on my computer that I am uncontactable . . . have always wanted to do that! When you work for yourself, you are available 24/7 especially during event time!

Events on the way

South Australia has a fabulous events calendar year-round. Below are just some of the events we can look forward to.


Melrose Fat Tyre Festival Melrose Fat Tyre Festival

Melrose Fat Tyre Festival
10-13 June, Flinders Ranges
Everyone’s welcome at this fun-loving festival, which invites mountain bikers to explore single-track trails around the gorgeous town of Melrose.

Sea & Vines 2016
10-13 June, Fleurieu Peninsula
Make a weekend of it and enjoy four days of indulgence in McLaren Vale, with more than 35 events on offer.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival
10-25 June, Adelaide
What comes next? The Adelaide Cabaret Festival asks that question this year, with artistic directors Ali McGregor and Eddie Perfect at the helm.


Winter Reds Festival Winter Reds Festival

Port Augusta Cup Day
10 July, Outback
Place your bets at this historic race meeting, held with the Flinders Ranges as a majestic backdrop.

Adelaide Beer and BBQ Festival
8-10 July, Adelaide
Cheers! After kicking off last year, the party returns with more beer, more BBQ and more fest.

Umbrella: Winter City Sounds
15 July-7 August, Adelaide
Expect new artists, original music, tribute acts and more at this new festival presented by MusicSA.

Winter Reds Festival
30-31 July, Adelaide Hills
Head for the hills and get cosy with a glass of red, slow-cooked deliciousness and roaring fires.


SALA SALA Festival

SALA Festival
1-31 August, state-wide
It’s the state’s largest celebration of visual arts: a jam-packed month of creativity.

Adelaide Festival Centre’s Guitar Festival
11-14 August, Adelaide
A unique salute to the world’s most popular instrument in its many forms.

Kangaroo Island Marathon
27 August, Adelaide
Runners can tackle a half or full marathon across the natural wonderland that is Kangaroo Island.

2016 International Netball Series test match
31 August, Adelaide
The Diamonds will play on Australian soil for the first time in 2016 when they host the England Roses at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.


Work with us
Two roles with Events South Australia are being advertised at present:

Event manager, Tasting Australia
Full job ad
Position description
Please direct any enquiries to or 8463 4653. Applications should be addressed to Joanne Chadwick, business operations manager, Events South Australia via
Applications close at 5pm, 9 June 2016

Business development coordinator, Events
Full job ad
Position description
Please direct any enquiries to or 8463 4653.
Applications are to be addressed to Mandy Milligan, business development manager, Events South Australia via
Applications close at 5pm, 9 June 2016

Flinders Ranges Flinders Ranges

Events workshops
Events South Australia is off to the Flinders Ranges and Outback for the next series of Events and Festivals Industry Workshops. They will be held from 28-30 June and are designed for people who work in the region’s tourism and/or events industries – or have an interest in these areas.
Details are as follows:

  • 6pm Tuesday 28 June, Wilpena Pound
  • 6pm Wednesday 29 June, Leigh Creek
  • 5:30pm Thursday 30 June, Melrose
Head here for more information and to register.

ATDW update
Now is a great time to revisit the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse. This central content and distribution platform recently launched the redesigned and rebuilt ATDW-online, which boasts new features including standardisation of information Australia-wide, mobile compatibility and instant updates. Business and community events can now be listed, and a new food and drink category has also been added. It’s worth noting that high-resolution images are now required as part of listing, and that information should be reviewed annually to ensure it remains visible. 

Murray Man Murray Man

New management system for Riverland events
A new Riverland Event Management System has been launched as a joint initiative of local councils and Destination Riverland. It aims to drive visitation, encourage locals to attend events, help organisers claim their dates and avoid clashes, and to ensure consistent event promotion across the region. Organisers are encouraged to visit the Destination Riverland website to ensure their event meets system requirements, then head here to fill out the necessary information and make their submission. Approved events can be seen on various Riverland tourism and council websites.

Regional Events and Festivals Program
Events South Australia’s business development co-ordinator, Chloe Burges, is busy assessing applications for funding through the 2016-17 Regional Events and Festivals Program. Stay tuned for an announcement of successful applicants in July.

Tourism news

Events South Australia is the major events arm of the South Australian Tourism Commission. Here’s the latest in tourism news across the state.

International visitors spending more in SA than ever before: A 40 per cent increase in spending in the past year has seen international visitors inject a record $954 million into South Australia’s visitor economy. Click here for the full media release.

Adelaide secures business events as Convention Centre redevelopment progresses: Adelaide has won the right to host several major conventions as the next milestone in the $397 million redevelopment of the Adelaide Convention Centre is completed. Click here for the full media release.

Record number of cruise ships to visit South Australia: South Australia will welcome 52 cruise ships to our ports next season, exceeding the State Government’s 2020 target three years early. Click here for the full media release.

Qatar Airways lands in Adelaide: Qatar Airways’ inaugural flight to South Australia – using the world’s most modern aircraft – has landed at Adelaide Airport. Click here for a video covering the milestone.

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