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Weatherill wants a 'Mad March' in the springtime


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The State Government is working to create a new “cluster of events” to rival Mad March, eyeing off September and November as potential calendar hot spots.

Premier Jay Weatherill says he wants to utilise the soon-to-be-revamped Festival Plaza as “the raw material for a space for events”, and has indicated that he is keen to look beyond the “tangle of events in March”, which include the Adelaide Festival, Fringe and Clipsal 500.

“There’s something about that that creates its own excitement and we are working with arts and tourism to create, if you like, another cluster of events later in the year,” he said.

The Premier is keen on building events around the OzAsia Festival in September, a notion propagated by OzAsia’s artistic director Joseph Mitchell who, Weatherill says, has “some incredibly exciting ambitions for the future of that festival”.

Mitchell told InDaily while OzAsia’s prestige was already “cemented throughout Adelaide and its reputation growing both nationally and internationally”, there’s also “a fantastic groundswell around Asian arts and culture in the September period, with other interesting events building up”.

These include the Migration Museum’s Asian migration program and INDOFest, but Mitchell is also in discussions with Adelaide’s major arts institutions to develop concurrent exhibits focusing on contemporary Asia.

“We’ve seen how successful arts festivals can be in Mad March period,” Mitchell said.

The Garden of Unearthly Delights during "Mad March".

The Garden of Unearthly Delights during “Mad March”.

In 2016, the OzAsia festival will coincide with a raft of major conferences that will see around 1000 artists, administrators and designers from the Asia Pacific region descend on Adelaide, so Mitchell plans to keep building the scope of the event “knowing that by 2017 we’ll be another rung up the ladder in terms of growing our profile”.

“It solidifies Adelaide as a leader in terms of Australian/Asian engagement,” he said.

Weatherill agrees, dubbing OzAsia “one of the great festivals on the national calendar”.

“It’s a truly national festival, and we’ve got the corner of that (contemporary Asian art) market that in some ways hasn’t really been grabbed yet,” he said.

“We’ve got a nine-year headstart.”

But Weatherill also hinted at a further Spring events season, perhaps built around a mooted return of horseracing to Victoria Park, “linked up with some other fashion festivals and events”.

“I think November is a great month in SA,” he told attendees at a business lunch.

“It’s another beautiful month like March, where the weather’s just perfect for outdoor events.”

He said the Government was exploring “lots of ideas about regenerating this city” and that major events clustered into periods such as Mad March were “exciting for our own citizens, but also send a very important message to the world”.

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