Posted: Thursday 6 July, 2017

The sun rises in the west: AFoI makes its move!

The Adelaide Festival of Ideas is making a leap in time and space, announcing that the much-loved event will be returning in 2018 – and to its original dates in July.

“From 12-15 July 2018 great achievers and audiences new and old will be warming up in the West End of Adelaide with a 3-day ideas festival celebrating the life of the mind, thought leadership, the role of the public intellectual, and debating the most vexing issues of our times” says festival founder and chairman, former head of Arts SA, Greg Mackie OAM.

“We will be moving our centre of gravity to Adelaide’s West End – where a cluster of venues offer both warmth and a dynamic destination,” he said. “From the Adelaide Convention Centre expansion and New RAH, to SAHMRI and new medical and health sciences buildings, the sun is rising on a new west end renaissance where once there were only rail yards.”

“It is testimony to the West End’s spectacular development that it is now a perfect place for a festival of ideas”.

“With a return to July we will be making new friends and strengthening long-established partnerships. We will also promote an exciting cultural program, ‘ART=IDEAS’ that will extend beyond our main AFoI dates to include the whole month of July.

‘AFoI+’ will also rub shoulders with the new Umbrella Festival of live music to provide audiences with a brilliant range of mid-year experiences” he continued.

From 1999-2009 the AFoI flourished in July. “We moved the AFoI to October in 2011 as part of a strategy to build a cluster of events in spring” says Mackie, who was then Deputy Chief Executive in former Premier Mike Rann’s department.

“Our event helped prove the spring events cluster model and October is now bursting with activity. Adelaide’s appetite for world class events cannot be contained to just one or two peak periods of activity. We’ve always been pioneers in the festivals field and are convinced this is the right next move. Providing our audiences with a winter option will be good for the West End, good for Adelaide and great for the State’s reputation as a winter destination” he concluded.

The Adelaide Festival of Ideas was started by former bookseller, Greg Mackie, in 1999. It immediately established an large audience and was emulated in other cities and around the world. Following the withdrawal of core funding by the SA Government in 2015, Mackie took back ownership of the event, and with a group of committed long-time AFoI supporters, formed a not-for-profit incorporated association. With the continuing support of the three public universities and a range of valued partners, including the City of Adelaide, a successful 2016 AFoI was presented with nearly 50 events and 15,000 attendances.

The board still hopes that one day the SA Government will revisit its funding decision and continues to aspire to make AFoI an annual event.