Adelaide Fringe Celebrates 60 Years With 'The People's Festival: 60 Years of Adelaide Fringe'

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The Adelaide Fringe is commemorating its Diamond Anniversary with the release of an enlightening documentary and a nostalgic limited-edition book.

Both initiatives highlight the fantastic journey of 60 years with the Adelaide Fringe, offering insight into the creative process behind the brand and its glittering impact on the city.

Produced by Channel 44 and Same River Studio, The People's Festival: 60 years of Adelaide Fringe will take centre stage in presenting the iconic festival's history this year.

The 30-minute documentary delves into the historic importance of the Adelaide Fringe from its humble beginnings in 1960 when a small group of independent artists, who were not invited to participate in the curated Adelaide Festival, decided to create an open-access platform on the city 'fringe.' So was born a place for artists to test new work, experiment with their creative process and engage new ideas.

Two world-premiere screenings of the documentary, one of which is already sold out, will be held at Mercury Cinema in Adelaide before it goes to air nationally on Monday March 16 at 8.30pm on Channel 44, C31 in Melbourne and WTV in Perth.

Executive Producer Lauren Hillman said this project was an exciting opportunity for Channel 44 to showcase 60 years of South Australian arts history in collaboration with Same River Studio and the Adelaide Fringe.

"If you live outside of Adelaide you may never fully understand the impact the Adelaide Fringe has on the entire city during those 4 weeks every February and March, there is a certain electric energy that engulfs Adelaide during this period and we hope the documentary really captures this essence," Hillman said.

It was such a pleasure and honour to interview artists such as Paul McDermott whose career was launched during the Fringe in 1986, winning pick of the Fringe that year with the Doug Anthony All Stars."

2013 Adelaide Fringe Ambassador Paul McDermott reflected on the diversity of shows on offer during the Fringe,

"You take a punt sometimes and not all of its gold, some of it is just crazy but occasionally you see something that changes your mindset, that is profound and has the ability to alter your thinking." McDermott said.

The documentary also features interviews with artists such as Judith Lucy, Dave Hughes, Hans, 2020 Fringe Ambassador Marcia Hines, Penny Arcade, Cal Wilson, Hugh Sheridan, Peter Goers, Kaurna senior custodian Karl Telfer, Marjorie Fitzgerald OAM, Jane Doyle and the late Frank Ford who founded Adelaide Fringe in 1960.

Director Max Mackinnon said the opportunity to delve deeper into the background of Adelaide Fringe was both rewarding and awe inspiring.

"It was brilliant to have an opportunity to dig deeper into the rich culture behind the Adelaide Fringe Festival and discover some of the amazing characters that worked so hard to build the event we all know and love today." Mackinnon said.

Also highlighting history of Adelaide Fringe, a limited-edition coffee table book with just 500 copies in existence featuring archival imagery throughout six decades of the iconic event, including each year's poster, media snippets and marketing material.

Adelaide Fringe CEO and Director Heather Croall said crafting the book was a collaborative process, with prominent quotes from a plethora of artists involved across the years.

"It was wonderful to look back at the memories made over the history of Adelaide Fringe. This event has come so far since its humble beginnings and it's wonderful to celebrate that through a tangible book".

The 2020 Adelaide Fringe will run from 14 February to 15 March. For more information about the documentary and the book, please visit

Documentary production was also supported by the Community Broadcasting Foundation and UniSA School of Creative Industries.

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