Adelaide Festival Centre

Adelaide Festival Centre

In 2005, David was recruited by the Adelaide Festival Centre, the South Australian Tourism Commission, S.A. Premier Mike Rann and business leaders, including a former Young & Rubicam chairman, to lead the artistic direction of a new ten-day international festival modeled after the New York Guitar Festival.

Following a two-week exploratory trip to Australia, David was invited to coffee with Premier Rann and members of his senior staff who were in New York.

The meeting, in the lobby of the storied Algonquin Hotel, touched on Oz-Asia trade, the legacy of Bill Clinton’s presidency, the opening of a campus of Carnegie Mellon University in Adelaide, recent cinema, Jimi Hendrix (“Little Wing” was often cranked up in the car while campaigning), David's birthday (he turned 40 that day) and something about a new guitar festival.

Two hours later, before the Premier (“please call me Mike”) was off to the UN, he reached across the breakfast plates and said, “Let's do this thing. Let’s do this festival.”

In less than a year, the event had secured corporate and media sponsors, including Coopers Brewery and Rolling Stone, a three-million dollar annual budget, and a four-year commitment from the South Australian Government.

After the inaugural 2007 event, which drew 30 thousand people, the Adelaide Review wrote, “never before have we had a festival like this. . . the Guitar Festival was a roaring success and an unqualified winner. . . whoever thought of it has seized on a brilliant idea and pulled it off remarkably well in its first year. The key was linking it up with the New York Guitar Festival and creating a southern sister to that event."

Rolling Stone called it “a genuinely international event... curated by David Spelman, the man behind the world-renowned New York Guitar Festival."

The Australian commented that "the richness of the line-up and the thoughtful way in which the musicians have been themed into different events is yet another example of the seriousness with which South Australia approaches its self-proclaimed remit as the festival state."

One of Australia’s oldest and most important performing arts centers, on the banks of the Torrens River in the heart of downtown Adelaide, the Adelaide Festival Centre houses six venues.

Adelaide Festival Centre website


                  The Melbourne Age

                  ABC Television

                  Rolling Stone