“Edinburgh Festival Fringe opens the doors, streets, and alleyways of an entire city to an explosion of creative energy from around the globe” – Edfringe
2 August – 26 August 2019
Source: Festival Fringe Society
fringe; the planet’s largest arts festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. If we were to fully dive into the history and details of this mystifying festival, this article would turn into a ‘book’.
The birth of fringe is an interesting one, an event worth the read up. Started off as a conventional arts festival, but there were many notable occurrences that contributed to the manifestation of a prodigious event, fringe. Now, the fringe festival takes place every year in August spanning 3 weeks in Edinburgh. A festival at this scale will surely have companies scurrying to secure partnerships and sponsorships with fringe and try to get their brand in front of as many eyeballs as possible.
A little background on Edinburgh Fringe Festival..
In 1947, the year of the inaugural Edinburgh International Festival, 8 theatre companies decided to turn up uninvited. Their objective was to take advantage of the International Festival’s large crowds to showcase their talents at nearby venues. The performances of these 8 companies were well received which laid the groundwork for two traits to eventually become the core fundamentals of fringe: the lack of invitation and performing at unconventional venues. Although it was not recognized at the time, it was the beginning of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Fast forward to today, fringe is now governed and maintained by, The Fringe Society. This organisation was set up to support, assist, and promote all in aspects of this festival but it doesn’t interfere with the type of performances that the groups want to showcase. It was the popularity of this concept that made it spread far and wide. In 2018, there were over 55,000 performances and 3,000 shows in 300 venues. Since 2011 to date, they’ve issued over 2 million tickets on average.
What’s so special about fringe?
A few traits that are unique to fringe is the freedom of expression and the lack of “rules.” Anyone with a story to tell or anyone that can provide a venue is welcomed to the fringe community. There are no criteria for the performances or venues, everyone is free to express their art in their own way. Audiences can enjoy all forms of arts from theatre, comedy, dance, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, physical theatre, musicals, opera, spoken words, exhibitions, and the list goes on.
5 big fringe partnerships..
Now, there will be over 2 million audiences attending this festival with a lot of media paying attention to this festival. Naturally, many brands want to collaborate with fringe because it’s great exposure! There are a lot of companies that managed to secure a partnership with fringe, but some partnerships are more prominent than others. Here are five companies that were ahead of the crowd and got their brand front seats to the festival.
When it comes to big partnerships, you’ll always see Johnnie Walker a few strides ahead of the rest (just like their logo), a great example is their partnership with HBO during the Game of Thrones season finale. This year, fringe announced that Johnnie Walker will become the official whisky of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, bringing together two famous Scotland brands to celebrate all that is great about the Scottish culture. Johnnie Walker is Scotland’s most successful alcohol brand with 7 Johnnie Walker bottles exported every second. At the festival, there will be Johnny Walkers striding man statues placed across key locations as signposts to the multitudinous shows and events across Edinburgh. There will also be Johnnie Walker bars open to the public in the duration of the festival.
The Brain Tumor Benefit!
Source: The Edinburgh Reporter
In 2017, the co-founder (Ed Bartlam) of Underbelly’s son, Alfie, was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer. Having seen the devastating effects of brain cancer, Ed Bartlam became an activist to raise awareness and funds to tackle this issue. He found that even though brain cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths for people under 40s, brain tumor research is severely underfunded in the UK. Ed Bartlam and The Brain Tumour Charity will continue their partnership this year. For the past three years, they’ve raised nearly £100,000 for the charity, making them the biggest funder of the brain tumor research globally. 100% of the ticket sales will go directly to charity. Among these amazing people, fringe stars will come together for a fun-filled evening of comedy featuring: Russell Howard, Nina Conti, Jason Byrne, Danny Bhoy, and Flo & Joan.
Buy a ticket and support the cause. Tickets are priced at £20.80 (incl. booking fee)
PLACE [Platforms of Creative Excellence]
The unique three-way partnership between, the Scottish Government, the City of Edinburgh Council, and the Edinburgh Festival, aka PLACE [Platforms of Creative Excellence]. This program will provide £15 million to fringe over the next 5 years to support and preserve the creative culture in Scotland. They’ve released their first £5.8 million in November last year.
The Big Four
The Big Four – Assembly, Gilded Balloon, Pleasance, and Underbelly are the 4 leading venues in Edinburgh. Celebrating their 12 years of working together, edfringe.com will partner up with them again this year hosting 948 shows from 29 countries to perform in 107 spaces across 24 venues in Edinburgh. Audiences will need to pay a small fee to watch these performances.
The Fringe Central Partners
The Fringe Central Partners came together with a list of companies to collaborate with to tackle issues and provide support to solve these issues in our community like equality, environmental sustainability, mental health awareness, education, LGBT community, and more. You can find out about them in more detail here.
To sum up..
Being as grand as it is, the fringe festival, also often known as an unjuried festival because of the lack of vetting process to ‘maintain’ the quality of performances did not escape criticism. However, fringe’s position on this debate was perfectly summed up by Michael Dale, fringe administrator and author of Sore Throats & Overdrafts, “No-one can say what the quality will be like overall. It does not much matter, actually, for that is not the point of the Fringe … The Fringe is a forum for ideas and achievement unique in the UK, and in the whole world … Where else could all this be attempted, let alone work?”
; and to that saying, we completely agree.
1971 Festival Fringe Club Membership Card
Edinburgh Fringe Festival is happening this August (2-26). If this is your first time, you can visit these sites with useful information when you’re visiting Edinburgh, planning your time at fringe, or if you want to know how to be a part of the sustainability act. The team at Fringe Society did an amazingly thorough job with providing must-know information and even information you didn’t know you needed to know. You’ll be able to find everything on their website.
To festival go-ers, which shows are you anticipating to see? Let us know at the comments below!