The buzz on the Adelaide Fringe

About Adelaide Fringe

In the beginning…

It has been strongly identified from many sources that there has always been a Festival Fringe ever since the Adelaide Festival of Arts began in 1960, when the Festival fathers were surprised by several unscheduled Festival events which were not part of the official program.

The Adelaide Fringe is a unique and energetic celebration of all art forms and performance genres. As an open access arts festival, originally modelled on the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, its mission was and remains to this day to create an open access forum for the arts, with the broader objective of fostering the development of innovative and alternative forms of artistic expression and providing a context for artist to present their work.

From this early stage, a need was identified by the Adelaide arts community to promote local talent at the same time as the more formal Adelaide Festival of Arts. The Fringe’s charter is to be a service organisation for artists, and assists participating artists with advice in all areas of producing an event: budgets, marketing and publicity, production, venues and much more.

History Snapshot

From 1960, the Fringe momentum grew with each Festival and for the next ten years Fringe activities existed in tandem with the Festival, but focused in a totally different direction. The Festival itself included what was called Festival Attractions and Other Exhibitions in their program and these were seen to be fringe activities in the more official sense.

Over the years, the growing numbers of fringe artists contributed greatly to the unique, artistic atmosphere in Adelaide at festival time. By 1974, the Festival Board of Governors decided to formally acknowledge the Fringe officially. In 1975 a small group of arts organisations rallied against the more formal approach to Fringe activities by the Festival and in 1976 Focus Inc was incorporated. A small amount of funding was obtained and the first independently organised Focus Festival was held in 1976. Since then, the Adelaide Fringe has grown rapidly in size and diversity in response to the needs of the arts community.

In 2006, with the assistance of ongoing funding from Arts SA and Principal Partner, BankSA, it was decided that the Adelaide Fringe would go annual. With some excitement, artist registrations opened in July 2006 for the first ever annual Fringe in 2007. Over 400 events registered and thousands of people attended which cemented the Fringe’s place in the hearts of the people of Adelaide and in February – March of every year. In 2009, the Adelaide Fringe hosted over 550 events and had record ticket sales of over 200,000.

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