The second Focus – Adelaide Festival of the Australian Arts was held February 25 – March 19.

The Focus 1978 promotional flyer stated that: "Focus is the explosion of energy and enthusiasm that is Adelaide's Alternative Festival of Arts".

The Focus 1978 Festival included all of the theatre, poetry, exhibitions, dance, outdoor events and free happenings that made up the 'fringe' of the Adelaide Festival of Arts.

The Focus 1978 Festival saw the inclusion of:

  • 31 dramatic productions, 9 dance companies, 16 musical groups, 37 different performances and over 50galleries staging exhibitions
  • The premieres of several new Australian works including Rob George's 'Let's Twist Again' and Steve Spear's 'There were Giants in Those Days'
  • An  Australian Cinema Retrospective, covering sixty years of cinema
  • A Focus Club
  • A  Focus magazine
  • The first coordination of mass busking (see Busking comes to the Focus Festival)
  • A Focus day with free dramatic performances running from midday until midnight, which included over 50 free performances.


The Focus Administrator, Peter Otto, in a press release Bringing the Fringe into Focus stated that the three things that stand out as being characteristic of Focus are:

  • The emphasis on the importance of Australian talent – they felt that this is all too often overlooked in the rush to get the big names from overseas
  • The groups involved provide a forum for much of the original and innovative work that is put on in Adelaide
  • That the Focus program underlines involvement and participation. Many of their activities were free or inexpensive - Focus represents Arts for the people in a very real way.

Highlights of Focus 1978:

  • Busking - included for the first time in the Focus Festival program. The Adelaide City Council gave approval to this time-honoured art of playing music, clowning, acting and performing in the streets. Permits were issued free of charge to all registered Focus buskers
  • The Global Village – an entire festival in itself; dance, theatre, mime, film and music from all over the world
  • The Focus Club – at the Richmond Hotel with free entertainment every night of the Festival
  • Street Theatre, Minstrels, Clowns and Jugglers everywhere!
  • Musicians and Music, Music, Music
  • Children's Theatre
  • Pub Shows – special acts touring around Adelaide.

Despite being only the second Focus Festival, the FOCUS press release The Growth of Focus stated the following:

  • The last two Festivals (1976 and 1978) had seen growth in the size and quality of the Festival
  • The growth was quite spontaneous – being an open access festival, Focus is an open platform for the Arts and does not invite or exclude performers
  • In 1978, over 100 groups participated in Focus, this involved over 500 performances with 56 performance groups
  • More than 80,000 tickets were sold and many people took advantage of the numerous free events
  • In addition thousands of peopled viewed the 50 Visual Art Exhibitions that were put on as part of Focus.

“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
FOCUS Press Release – The Growth of Focus
1978 Focus Newsletter #1

1978 Promotional  Flyer

1978 Busking comes to the Focus Festival

1978 Media Highlights

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