Story: The River Palais Returns to Glorious Life

The Palais 2018The river Palais is coming back to glorious life. Hooray.


For almost a year, people have grumbled that its hibernation shape was blot on the riverscape. 

Now, as the Festival opens up its 2018 program, it glows with promise of beautiful sounds, sights, concepts and tastes.


By night, it will throb with music, laughter and celebration.

But first thing in the morning, it has a very special magic.

It is the clever thinkspace of the Adelaide Festival.


As the fragrance of fresh coffee wafts across the water, people gather for Breakfast with the Papers.

This is when ideas are spun, when satirical quips fly and when caustic commentaries whip across the crisp pages of the morning papers.


This is when journalists come out to play with literary identities, when Writers’ Week and local scribes cross paths and when bright and curious Adelaideans can have the best free entertainment.

Breakfast with the Papers was introduced last year, its lively interactions instantly demonstrating its staying power as a Festival event.


This year, with CIBO Espresso coffee on hand alongside the papers courtesy of The Advertiser, Tom Wright again will host the morning current affairs show bringing together panels of interesting media brains - from visiting Festival identities to familiar local journalists, from renown writers to specialist academics - a new crop each morning.


The Palais opens its doors at 7am when the Torrens waters shimmer in the morning calm and the odd swans glide by.  It pays to arrive early to beat the coffee queue. But this gives some reflective time to browse the free copies of the paper before their contents are dissected.


I had the pleasure last Festival of being one of Tom Wright’s panellists in a session with American political analyst Thomas Frank from Writers’ Week and fellow Aussie journalist Peter Cave. It was good grist on the American political front whence I had just returned from a 6-month road trip around the USA observing the rise and rise and then election of Donald Trump. The world was still numb with shock. 


It was exciting to see the Palais filling up with interesting Festival and community personalities. Even the Festival’s artistic directors Neil Armfield and Rachel Healey, can’t resist joining these audiences.  This year, with the Trump regime’s Tweet-driven madness reverberating through the world, the political discussions promise to be wild with Australian politics also sitting right up there in the controversial hot seat.


Breakfast with the Papers, along with David Marr’s Festival Forums on the Palais, are free events.

They are part of a diverse 47-event program which will keep the Palais bubbling along from morning until deepest dark for 17 festive days.


By night it becomes a floating music mecca with bright lights laughter and cocktails. Top acts will perform, from sweet melodic lilting folk sounds like Julia Jacklin and divine Lior, to Archie Roach AM and the Perfumed Genius and Grizzly Bear and Regurgitator. Heels will kick up and the water below will shimmy to the tempos.


At lunchtime on the Palais, it is another story altogether.

Foodies will unite in this glorious foodie city.


The Palais will assume a gourmet mantle hosting luscious Long Lunch events catered by top chefs. Obviously, these gourmet happenings aren’t freebies like Breakfast with the Papers or the David Marr forums.  They’re $169 a head and are exquisite gustatory adventures delivered by the foodie stars of the moment from here and afar.  Needless to say, they’re pretty hot ticket events. Book now.


All the details can be found on the links below.


Samela Harris


The Palais
Where: Adelaide Riverbank and Elder Park
When: 2 to 18 March
Visit: for exact times
Festival hospitality options are available.

Bookings: or BASS 131 246

Long Lunches Program
Sun 4 Mar - O Tama Carey
Sat 10 Mar - Jared Ingersoll
Sun 11 Mar - Alex Herbert
Mon 12 Mar - Jordan Theodoros
Sun 18 Mar - Janet Jeffs
Time: 11.45am – 3pm
Cost: $169 per person. Transaction fees apply

Breakfast with the Papers
Palais open from 7am daily
Hosted panel session 8 to 9am
No sessions Friday 2 Mar & Mon 5 Mar
Free Entry – No bookings required

Festival Forums
Fri 2 Mar 12.30pm
Mon 5 Mar to Fri 9 Mar 12.30pm
Tue 13 Mar to Fri 16 Mar 12.30pm
Duration 1hour

Free Entry – no bookings required

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