What exactly is the “Fringe?”
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe (the Fringe) started in 1947 in parallel to (some say as a reaction to) the creation of the Edinburgh International Festival. The International Festival excluded eight local theaters who decided to launch their own “fringe” shows. Over the years, more and more joined this festival of outsiders and the Fringe was born.
Eventually, it flourished and surpassed the size of the International Festival with several thousand shows/acts in the city during August. The Fringe is not curated: anyone who can find a venue is allowed to put on a show. Even though it is open, this does not mean it is easy. Show organisers and artists find themselves in intense competition for venues and audiences.
Founded in 1958, the Edinburgh Fringe Society provides information to participants/artists, publishes the Fringe programme and offers a central box office to the public. The EdFringe Society also gives educational and networking opportunities to participants. Find more information.
Fringe Goes Global
The Fringe model is replicated all over the world. Today, more than 200 Fringe festivals take place across the globe. The numbers are astounding: about 19 million spectators watch 170,000 performers in 60,000 free and ticketed events. The Fringe community can now even access to its own worldwide network: World Fringe, the International Fringe Festival Association.
Each Fringe festival adheres to its own rules. In Edinburgh, the Fringe is open to anyone who can find a venue, while in Montreal, shows are selected through a lottery.
The Fringe model fosters an intensely creative and diverse community. The audience gets to choose from free street shows to high-end ticketed performances. Random encounters, a performance of a life-time, stories from across the world … anything can happen in Edinburgh in August.