Greg Barila

Journalist. Editor. Social Media specialist.

Time Adelaide started thinking inside the square

Much fun: The Royal Croquet Club, which popped up in Victoria Square during the 2014 Adelaide Fringe. Source:News Corp. Australia

I don’t know what got in to me but I really had my Festival Pants on this Mad March.
I found myself going out more often than a dodgy back to enjoy jokes every bit as good as that, and many not nearly as good.
The patchy quality of the entertainment on offer is what makes the Fringe such a beautiful, unpredictable organism.
And even the scarring experience of an hour of bad experimental jazz puppetry is nothing a few stiff drinks can’t fix.
TELL US BELOW: What aspects of the festival would you like all-year-round?
In fact the ability to have a drink, a chat, a dance and a laugh at one of the many lively bars and clubs to pop-up around the city has always been one of the best bits about festival time.
Although it’s become so big it deserves its own postcode, the Garden of Unearthly Delights still offers a reliably good time, even when the act inside the tent fails to do what the label said.
All the more reason we should be mourning the fact Mad March has all but made way for As-You-Were April.
A council worker with an oversized knitting needle went out one night when you were sleeping and pricked all the places that previously had popped up. Pooh.
The only times I’ve planted a shoe on the all-new, sort-of-finished Victoria Square, were to frequent the Royal Croquet Club to sip Pims and marvel at how pretty the city looks at night through strings of coloured lights and fireworks.
Unless there’s a building fire, and we’re forced to evacuate to the nearest official assembly point, I can’t imagine I’ll have a decent excuse to enjoy this prime bit of public space for anything closely resembling a good time until the festival rolls around again, IN A WHOLE YEAR’S TIME. Sigh.
Adelaide is blessed with a network of big and open squares but, sadly, fewer ideas about how to make the most of them.
No tables or chairs for city workers to enjoy lunch outdoors. No outdoor library for a spot of summer reading. No ping pong tables for a midday distraction.
Does anyone really think, if a cool little bar popped up permanently in a corner of the square, office workers wouldn’t pop in on a Friday night for a cold beer and a debrief with colleagues before tramming or cabbing it home? I know I would.
For once, it’s time to stop thinking outside the squares and let responsible adults enjoy a drink inside them.
TELL US BELOW: What’s aspects of the festival would you like all-year-round?
This column was first published in The City Adelaide and on