Music of Adelaide includes music relating to the city of Adelaide, South Australia. It includes all genres of both live and recorded music by artists born or living in the city, live music events happening in the city, and other aspects of the music industry relating to Adelaide.
Adelaide is a UNESCO City of Music. It enjoys several annual music festivals and awards, and possibly has more live music venues per capita than any other capital city in the southern hemisphere. Organisations such as Music SA and the Music Development Office, backed by the state government, help to nurture the live music industry and the careers of emerging artists.
2013: Reverb report leads to new support
In 2012, the Don Dunstan Foundation, in partnership with Adelaide City Council, the Australia Council, Arts SA, Adelaide Fringe, the Department of the Premier and Cabinet and Regional Development Australia Barossa, hired British music promoter Martin Elbourne as Thinker in Residence on a project named "Reverb". The project aimed "to create collaboration and unified action for a healthy, more sustainable music scene" in South Australia. A report based on his recommendations was produced in 2013, entitled The future of live music in South Australia.
As a result of Elbourne's report, the Music Development Office and adjunct St Paul's Creative Centre was created by the state government (then under Arts SA, now Dept of Innovation & Skills) in 2014, with the goal of "build[ing] pathways into creative and industry development, with city vibrancy and economic benefit being the ultimate outcomes", which it does by facilitating grants, fellowships and other means of developing the careers of contemporary musicians.
City of Music
Adelaide was awarded a UNESCO City of Music title from the United Nations in late 2015, after an application driven by the Festival Centre, the Music Development Office and Adelaide City Council. It was the 19th city to gain the status.
In 2015, it was said that there were more live music venues per capita in Adelaide than any other capital city in the southern hemisphere, and Lonely Planet labelled Adelaide “Australia’s live music city”.
2017–2020: Live Music Action Plan
In 2017 the City of Adelaide produced a report entitled Adelaide: City of Music: Live Music Action Plan 2017−2020, after holding its first Live Music Summit to coincide with a visit by other global UNESCO Cities of Music on 8 March 2017. The report outlined the council's strategic plan and role in sustaining live music in the city.
Live music events
The city and surrounding area showcases many different genres of music with international and local artists in events such as the Adelaide Festival of Arts, , Adelaide Fringe, the world music festival WOMADelaide (held annually in Botanic Park), the Adelaide Guitar Festival and the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.
Music SA is a not-for-profit organisation founded in 1997 to promote, support and develop contemporary music in South Australia, which it does by providing training at many levels, professional development advice and live performance opportunities. Among its other activities, it has run the annual Umbrella: Winter City Sounds event since 2016, growing each year. Described as "a grass roots organic creation that is made up of local venues and mainly local performers", it offered over 350 live events in 2018. In association with the biennial Adelaide Guitar Festival, it presents "Guitars in Bars" each year, as part of Umbrella.
The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1937, with William Cade as conductor. The ASO often plays for the State Opera of South Australia, the Adelaide Youth Orchestra and Adelaide Chamber Singers.
Music education starts in primary and secondary public and private schools across the state. A number of public schools (19 as of 2019 have been designated "music focus schools" by an Education Department program called Instrumental Music (IM). Some of these are the APY Lands schools, Marryatville High School, and Whyalla High School.
As well as those mentioned above (Music SA, Music Development Office, etc.) there are other organisations based in Adelaide which focus on various aspects of the music industry.
SCALA (Songwriters, Composers, and Lyricists Association) is a non-profit, incorporated association, founded in November 1987 in Adelaide. Its goal is to support and encourage songwriters, composers, and lyricists in any style and genre, regardless of their level of skill and experience. It runs a venue for original music, workshops, the annual FOOM (Festival of Original Music) Song Competition, and regularly releases albums of original music (the 23rd such CD being released in 2015). SCALA also hosts special events, often at the Wheatsheaf Hotel in the inner western suburb of Thebarton, such as "Showcasing Aboriginal Artists" in June 2019.
Awards and events
From 2017–2020, the South Australian Government’s newly established Live Music Events Fund promised funding to the AIR (Australian Independent Record Labels Association) Awards and concurrent music conference, to take place at the Queen's Theatre in Adelaide. The events take place in July, along with Music SA's Umbrella: Winter City Sounds, a program of live music across Adelaide, and a couple of food and wine festivals in the city.
Music SA presents the annual South Australian Music Awards (SAM Awards), which replaced the Fowler's Live Awards from 2015, with support from the Music Development Office, APRA AMCOS and other sponsors. The 2019 Awards are to be held at the Bonython Hall in November.
Music venues for live music of all types and for musicians at all levels of experience include the Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, Elder Hall, Adelaide Town Hall, Nexus Multicultural Arts Centre, Lion Arts Factory, The Gov, and a host of smaller pubs, theatres and halls.
(Local names in parentheses for reference)
- Adelaide Entertainment Centre
- Adelaide Festival Centre
- Adelaide UniBar
- The Crown & Anchor (The Cranker)
- Electric Light Hotel
- Enigma Bar
- The Exeter
- The Fat Controller
- The Gaslight Tavern
- The Governor Hindmarsh Hotel (The Gov)
- The Grace Emily
- Lion Arts Factory
- L!ve on Light Square
- Jade Monkey
- The Highway
- Producers Bar
- Rhino Room
- Rocket Bar
- Thebarton Theatre (Thebby)
- The Metropolitan Hotel (The Metro)
- The Wheatsheaf Hotel ("Wheaty")
- Whitmore Hotel
Musicians of note
Adelaide has produced a number of popular bands and musicians, including Australian hip-hop crew Hilltop Hoods, pub-rock act Cold Chisel (and soloist Jimmy Barnes), and Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian.
Other popular bands include Atlas Genius, Testeagles, Eric Bogle, The Mark of Cain and the Superjesus. American Ben Folds has also lived in the city, inspiring his song titled "Adelaide" from the album Super D.
Electric Fields, winners of the 2016 Emily Burrows Award and Best New Talent in the 2017 National Indigenous Music Awards as well as being a contestant for representing Australia at the Eurovision Song Contest, hail from Adelaide.
The following is a list of some artists, past and present, originating in Adelaide and/or based in Adelaide.
- Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
- Adelaide Youth Orchestra
- Amber Calling
- Atlas Genius
- Australian Pink Floyd Show
- Bit by Bats
- City Riots
- Clowns of Decadence
- Cold Chisel
- Double Dragon
- Electric Fields
- Embodiment 12:14
- Embryonic Soul
- Exploding White Mice
- Fear and Loathing
- Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire!
- Guy Sebastian
- Hilltop Hoods
- I Killed the Prom Queen
- In Fiction
- Iwantja (band)
- James Taylor Move
- Jimmy Barnes
- King Snake Roost
- Leader Cheetah
- Mere Theory
- No Fixed Address
- Paul Kelly
- Static Icon
- The Angels
- The Audreys
- The Dairy Brothers
- The Hot Lies
- The Mad Turks from Istanbul
- The Mark of Cain
- The Masters Apprentices
- The Open Season
- The Shaolin Afronauts
- The Sundance Kids
- The Superjesus
- The Sweets of Sin
- The Transatlantics
- The Vibrants
- Universum (band)
- The Urban Guerillas
- Virgin Black
- Wes Carr
- Where's the Pope?
- Wolf & Cub
- Young Adelaide Voices
- Zephyr Quartet
- Zoot (band)
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This program is delivered by the Music Development Office (MDO).
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- Wheatsheaf Hotel
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