What's a Fringe Festival?
by ben hill
Fringe Festivals exist throughout the world as havens for underground and emerging arts scenes. The Fringe concept was incubated in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1947, eight performance groups appeared uninvited on the “fringes” of the exclusive Edinburgh International Festival. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has since grown into the largest arts festival in the world with hundreds of artists, thousands of performances, and millions of patrons every summer. It annually grosses over $100 million for the local economy and remains the biggest tourist draw in the UK.
Fringe Festivals have since sprung up in dozens of cities across the world.
Most Fringe Festivals are open and unjuried preferring lotteries, first-come-first-served, and find-your-own-venue systems to a formal selection process. This open means of programming fosters the work of both the well-established and the obscure; everyone has the opportunity to participate. Fringe Festivals nourish young visionaries by providing networking opportunities and production experience. They also provide large economic and cultural boosts for their hosting communities.