What makes a festival a “fringe” festival?
To-date, our collective (not always perfect) wisdom defines a “Fringe Festival” as a massive, unjuried, multi-disciplinary arts festival featuring local, national, and international talent.
The Hollywood Fringe Festival has no central selection committee (“jury”), promotes and supports touring and out-of-town artists, and is designed to be very multi-disciplinary in scope: music, dance, theatre, circus, performance art, comedy, variety/burlesque, visual art, (potentially) film, and street performance.
The Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals (CAFF) created guidelines for fringe eligibility in Canada and trademarked the words “Fringe” and “Fringe Festival”. To mount any Canadian festival with “fringe” in its name, you must first become a member. All member fringes are obliged to operate their festivals in compliance with the CAFF mandate and guiding principles.
American fringes are more liberal with the definition. The American equivalent to the CAFF – the US Association of Fringe Festivals (USAFF) states:
There are no rules or regulations for how the individual festivals operate. The festivals’ content, finances and structure vary from city to city. Generally, however, all the festivals are committed to an open forum of expression that minimizes the financial risks for both artists and audiences. Fringes strive to keep application fees and ticket prices low so that more people can participate in our festivals.
Much like defining “art”, strictly defining “fringe” crushes its spirit and intent. Fringes vary by the content and character of their host city – as they should.
It’s a simple question. There are plenty of arts festivals in Los Angeles: Theatre, Dance, Film, Music – some of them great. Why do we need a Fringe Festival, then?
The quality of a city’s culture is deeply connected to the richness and diversity of its arts scene. This not only applies to the mainstays of the arts culture (the opera houses, dance and music halls, and major regional theatres that comprise its matured foundation) – it applies to tomorrow’s art: The artists and works of art that define the emerging generation. The Fringe is a celebration of the next generation. By providing easy access to performance spaces in a highly promoted and publicized event, new work can be seen, appreciated, and absorbed into the local culture.
Historically, Fringe Festivals have been very good at pioneering new forms of artistic expression. By introducing a curiosity and appreciation for emerging arts in our community’s values, we further expand our city’s role as a bellwether of art and entertainment for the country and the world.
In times of economic turmoil, the arts are first on the chopping block. To protect against crisis, the multiple disciplines that comprise the arts scene need band together to stave off hard times. This is a goal of Fringe Festivals: To provide a forum through which arts organizations can promote themselves and the importance of their existence.
Fringe Festival are also very good for the neighborhoods in which they are hosted: Bringing a new breed of cultural tourism into the community. Shops, hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and other local vendors benefit from the exposure of a centralized arts presence in their midst.
because we don’t have one!
From an national and international perspective in the Fringe-going community, it has been a mystery why a town such as Los Angeles – priding itself as the capital of entertainment – lacks its own Fringe Festival. Towns as big as San Francisco and New York and as small as Boulder and Woodstock have adopted a Fringe Festival as a part of their culture. Most have become mainstays of their Summer entertainment and major economic boons for regional business. Hosting a Fringe Festival here would attract national and international attention to the hidden gems of this city – namely those arts organizations not directly affiliated with “the industry”.
It is part of our goal at Hollywood Fringe to celebrate Los Angeles as a town of artists – not just a town of celluloid.
For those of you not on the mailing list (why would you not be?), check out our January Fringe Update.
No huge surprises for regular readers, nonetheless an amusing run-down of fringe-land.
And while you’re at it, sign up for the newsletter
Facebook Causes is the only app I really like on the mighty FB. It is actually oddly fully functional with tools to recruit people and raise money, set targets, communicate with your community, and give people props/thanks for their participation. ItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s one of the most widely installed apps on FB.
I encourage all within shouting distance (electronically speaking) to join the cause and invite your friends to do the same. You can only invite 60 per day so I have been staggering. ThereÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s a horse race element that lists who has recruited/raised the most, so letÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s make this interesting: First person to recruit 50 people gets a big kiss from your favorite fringe staffer. I will have pictures and social histories of your options :)
Join the cause here
You will need to install the app. If you wanna be really cool and savvy, you can ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œfeatureÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â our cause on your facebook profile.
Raising money and building our community are our two major priorities for 2009 – so join the cause and pass it on.
We have been awarded “Most Anticipated Upcoming Fringe” from the popular fringe website Fringe or Die.