Artists and festival organisers scramble as border shuts to Greater Melbourne

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The sudden closure of South Australia’s border with Greater Melbourne has sent South Australian festival organisers and performers into a spin.

The Adelaide Fringe begins on February 19 and the Adelaide Festival on February 25, with music festival SummerSalt scheduled for February 14.

Adelaide Festival Executive Director Elaine Chia told ABC Radio Adelaide the border restrictions would have a huge impact on the event.

“It’s obviously disappointing for us and it has an immediate impact, not just for the artists but for our audiences” she said.

“Health and safety comes first and we will just work closely with the [State] Government to do what we can to put on the best festival we can under what circumstances will be in place now and for the next three weeks.”

Last ditch effort to make the show

Australian singer Missy Higgins is among the headline acts for a concert at Glenelg Beach on Sunday.

She received a phone call from her manager last night and raced to the airport.

“He told me that the borders are going to be closing at midnight and this is going to be the only way,” Higgins told ABC Radio Adelaide.

“I felt super rock’n’roll”.

Missy Higgins
Performer Missy Higgins said other bands on the event bill were yet to arrive in South Australia but she was confident the show would go ahead.(Supplied: Cybele Malinowski)

Fringe Festival Director Heather Croall said she hoped the border closure would not last long.

“There was a window where we did have an opportunity to communicate to people and say ‘if it suits you and you can do it, head to South Australia before midnight’,” Ms Croall said.

“A lot of artists did get on the plane, but others, they couldn’t,” she said.

A woman with coloured hair
Adelaide Fringe director Heather Croall said 100,000 tickets had been sold for festival events, with the vast majority of acts already in South Australia before the border closed.(Supplied: Adelaide Fringe)

Event organiser stranded

The Director of the Garden of Unearthly Delights, Michelle Buxton, said she was among those stranded in Melbourne.

“I’m in a bit of a pickle, I tried to get a flight last night, but of course, you could not get a flight,” Ms Buxton said.

“I’m just going to see how it rolls out and I will get there as quickly as I can.”

Ms Buxton said a small number of shows at the Garden of Unearthly Delights would be impacted.

“We’re working with the Fringe, with SA Health, our impacted artists and producers about how to move forward,” she said.

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