The 1972 Adelaide Festival of Arts was held from 3 - 25 March 1972.

The Festival Program included 26 approved Fringe exhibitions or collections, no listed approved Fringe Theatre or performance events.

1972 saw more local support for an independent Fringe and by 1973, there was a recognisable Fringe movement gathering momentum to challenge the status quo.

This was assisted by the changing social atmosphere in Australia, which in South Australia was promoted by the optimism of the Don Dunstan era and increased financial support by both State and Federal arts funding bodies. There was also greater support from the local media for an alternative festival running parallel with the Festival.

"In this Festival there was increased recognition of local artists and local community involvement in the Festival as never before, with a wide range of local theatre companies, art galleries and music groups participating is some way in the main program," Martin Christmas, 'The Open Platform; 1999. See the full listing  under the 1972 'official' fringe activities .

1972 also saw the 'unofficial' Fringe grow to encompass more events than ever before.There were 59 Unofficial Fringe visual arts exhibitions or collections, 15 Drama, Musical Theatre and Revue, 1 Music performance, 3 Opera Performances, 3 Ballet & Dance Performance, 2 Film Events, 9 general displays, museum exhibitions; 5 unofficial other Fringe events and a range of sporting and other events.

Two of the leading media advocates for the Fringe were Helen Covernton of the Sunday Mail and John Kirby of The News.

On March 4 1972, Helen wrote Hearing Ourselves, which questioned the validity of the traditional programming structure of the Festival and signalled the need to open up the Festival to a wider set of planning criteria to incorporate more local content. The significance of the article lay in that a leading Adelaide journalist had identified the intrinsic link between the Fringe and the development of local culture.

See What's On in Adelaide 1972 the 'unofficial' fringe activities.

What's On in Adelaide 1972 - A guide to events in and around Adelaide during the Festival produced by the South Australian Government Tourist Bureau – Issued 3 March, 1972.
Hearing Ourselves, Helen Covernton, The Advertiser, March 4 1972
Martin Christmas, Briefing paper 'fringe activities' to Focus 76, 2009
"The Open Platform – From Fringe to Focus in Pursuit of the Adelaide Fringe Festival", Martin Christmas, Adelaide, 1999.
Martin Christmas, Attachment 2, 2009: Press Clippings 1960 -78

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