The humble roots of The Garden of Unearthly Delights

From little things big things grow: The Garden of Unearthly Delights celebrates 24 years of being the vibrant heart of the Adelaide Fringe.

Nestled in the heart of Adelaide’s East End, The Garden of Unearthly Delights has blossomed from humble beginnings into a world-renowned Adelaide Fringe venue that captivates audiences with its unique charm and vibrant energy.

What started as a modest gathering of artists and performers in 2000 has evolved into a cultural phenomenon that attracts visitors and artists from across the globe, making it the must-visit destination during Adelaide Fringe.

But how did The Garden come to bloom and what is it about The Garden that sees scores of venues trying to emulate what they’ve mastered for the past 24 years? 

We spoke with Co-Directors Scott Maidment and Michelle Buxton to share their thoughts as another thrilling season is in full swing.

“In 2000, together with our friends David Bates and Christie Anthoney, we decided that Adelaide’s Rundle Park would be the perfect place to launch The Famous Spiegeltent in Australia. That year we had just the one gorgeous tent surrounded by a knee high picket fence, a handful of world class shows and a licensed capacity of 500,” Michelle Buxton said.

“We joined forces with Scott Maidment for the 2002 Fringe; he set up his circus big top next to The Spiegeltent and The Garden of Unearthly Delights was officially born. The Garden very rapidly became the centre of the Adelaide Fringe and has had a huge impact on both the Fringe and the East End of the city.

Over the past 24 years The Garden has grown into a globally adored event and has inspired countless outdoor arts festival precincts all over Australia and Europe including The Assembly Gardens in Edinburgh and The Spiegel Garden in Sydney,” she shared.

Michelle added, “This year we are proud to be home to more than 2,700 performance sessions by some of the greatest artists on the planet presenting work of all genres in 15 unique venues. We have kids shows, free shows, delectable food offerings and exhilarating carnival rides. There really is something for everyone in The Garden.”

L-R: Andrew Walker, Michelle Buxton, Scott Maidment, Sarah Stewart. Image credit: Jacinta Oaten

Scott Maidment shared, “Unlike most venues in the Adelaide Fringe, The Garden of Unearthly Delights is totally curated. We spend much of the year travelling to festivals connecting with artists and seeing shows; so that just like an antique dealer, we bring you the best the world has to offer so that you don’t have to travel the world. The Garden basically brings the world’s finest performing artist here to Adelaide audiences.”

“We know that much of what The Garden does has been emulated across not just Adelaide, but across the globe. We also know that at this time of year, all eyes are on what The Garden is presenting and seeing the next incredible piece of work.”

Scott Maidment

Over the years, The Garden of Unearthly Delights has transformed into a sprawling oasis of creativity, innovation, and entertainment, offering a diverse range of shows, performances, and experiences that cater to every taste and interest. From intimate cabaret shows to immersive art installations, The Garden has become a melting pot of talent and expression, showcasing the best of local and international talent. The world truly comes to you when you visit The Garden.

As The Garden continues to grow and evolve, it remains true to its roots as a place where artists can push boundaries, experiment with new ideas, and connect with audiences in meaningful ways. With its vibrant atmosphere, welcoming spirit, and commitment to supporting emerging talent, The Garden of Unearthly Delights has solidified its reputation as a premier Adelaide Fringe venue that celebrates the power of creativity and community.

From its humble beginnings to its status as a global sensation, The Garden invites you to be part of its extraordinary story and witness the wonder and delight that awaits within its gates this Adelaide Fringe.

You can find out what’s on and book your tickets via their website:

  • Staff Writer

    Made up of a small, tight knit team of writers and contributors who are passionate about all things FIFTY+ and the New Age. We love Adelaide and wider South Australia and sharing with you all of the l...


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