Friday, February 27, 2004

Adelaide Festival kicks off with Aboriginal welcome

The curtain rises on the Adelaide Festival of the Arts this evening with an Aboriginal welcoming ceremony on the banks of the River Torrens.

South Australia's major arts event also begins with welcome news at the box office.

Ticket sales have reached $2.7 million, which is well ahead of target.

The festival gets underway with a sacred opening at Pinky Flat on the Torrens just before sunset.

Local Aboriginal communities will be involved in the event to the beat of 100 drums and the haze from burning eucalypts.

The free outdoor event will be held while inside Adelaide's theatres, there will be diverse performances such as the Prague Chamber orchestra, Britain's Imaginary Body Company, Circus Oz and state theatre's world premiere production of Night Letters.

Premier Mike Rann is urging all South Australians to get involved over the next two weeks.

"This is one of the great festivals of the world and it's up there with Edinburgh, everyone can participate," he said.

About 65,000 tickets have been sold to festival shows so far, which is 15 per cent above expectations.

By Koori 27 February 04