Fringe, or Binge?

“In 1960, fed up with the limited opportunity for local talent in the exclusive Adelaide Festival of Arts, a small group of independent artists created the Adelaide Fringe”.

So begins the Adelaide Fringe Festival’s webpage about the history of the event that runs annually (alongside the Adelaide Festival of the Arts, Clipsal and WOMADelaide) in making Feb-March the glorious “silly season” we know and love. The page goes on to detail how the festival grew from a local event to a more Internationally-open one by 1988. Growth was tremendous in every way – the number of artists, the duration of the season, the geographic spread of activity, and, of course, the revenue generated for the city.

But is all growth good?

“Capitalism creates wealth through advancing continuously to ever higher levels of productivity and technological sophistication; this process, known as creative destruction, requires that the “old” be destroyed before the “new” can take over” Observation by Economist Joseph Schumpeter [1].

Back in 1960, Fringe took the premise of a major celebration of creative culture and it innovated, devising its own natural path according to the needs and contexts of the time and the place. It saw an ecosystem which served only the elite few and creatively developed a new approach to envelop others, difference, the unknown. It worked. And not by ‘creatively destroying’ its competition, the Adelaide Festival of the Arts, either.

The needs and contexts of the time and the place

Fast forward to 2016, where the Fringe Festival brochure and website explode with over 1100 events and more than 5000 artists over a frenzied five week period. That’s some significant growth right there. But let’s pause for a moment and reflect on the current “needs and contexts of the time and the place”. According to ABS’ June 2014 stats, South Australia consists of 1.69million residents, 1.30million of them in Greater Adelaide. Currently 7.5% of these residents are unemployed; the highest unemployment rate in the country. We have no industry, no manufacturing, and a comparatively small number of residents paying rates and taxes back into the system. Thanks partly to Mad March we have a pretty decent tourism sector, but clearly not enough to underwrite the entire State year-round. By comparison, it’s worth noting that Edinburgh Fringe has a potential audience of 300million within a 3hr flight to the city, and 70million just a day’s drive/train journey away. If Australia wasn’t throttled by the tyranny of distance and the subsequent greed of our travel industry this wouldn’t even be a discussion.

Let’s face it, SA is facing a disastrous economic crisis, and while “innovation” has been the buzzword on everyone’s lips (again) it seems the only prospective solution this State Government can envision is to become the world’s nuclear waste dump. A recent Royal Commission has proudly declared that $445 billion could be pumped into the the coffers over at least 70 years and create 1500-5000 jobs. This International centre of toxicity would cost an ‘estimated’ $257 billion to set up, which is a pretty hefty cashflow injection for a near-broke State, especially on a prospective ROI of less than 50% (plus we all know what happens when estimates become reality). And then there’s the small matter of the ecology and the humans who happen to live within it. I’m no scientist, but good old Wikipedia tells me the half life of radioactive waste is somewhere between 24,000-15.7 million years. Um, can I have a cost benefit analysis on that please?! I guess if we’re prepared to take such an unfathomably long-term risk for such absurdly short-term economic goals, South Australia really must be deeply and truly fucked.

The value of arts and culture

But what do toxic waste dumps have to do with the arts in general, never mind a wacky festival of gritty otherness? As any arts worker knows only too well, the first thing to go in times of austerity measures is the arts and culture budget. Just before its launch this year, the Adelaide Festival for the Arts were warned of a $1million cut to its funding, and they’re far from the only victims. That news coming on top of Senator Brandis’ $104million heist on our Federal funding body, the Australia Council for the Arts, last year explicitly demonstrates that Australian arts and culture (especially the Independent) sector has never been so truly fucked.

The perception that arts/culture has no commercial value ergo it has no value at all has been allowed to continue for far too long. Museums and Galleries are supposed to be free for the public [aka: art matters, people!] yet funding to enable their existence diminishes year on year, whereupon they’re criticised for not having better business models [aka: art is irrelevant to the public purse, even if it’s the Government’s decision to cripple any potential business model]. Arts Organisations battle to maintain core revenue for infrastructure (buildings, staffing, etc) as well as funding artistic programming. At least Arts Orgs have the potential interest of Sponsors and Philanthropists, though, with their promises of big names and shiny buildings. In the luxurious case of the meagre 28 Major Performing Arts companies (who already control around 57% of Australia Council-managed funds), they are both Federally sanctioned from cuts and eligible for “Catalyst“, Brandis/Fifield’s new slush fund. If the meek shall inherit the earth it seems that our future planet won’t have a great deal of high arts content…

So what of Independent artists, those who form the very basis of events like Fringe, trialling new experimental concepts, building experience and reputation that both delivers in its own right and incubates the necessary talent pool for the entire arts ecosystem? Well we clearly don’t often get a look-in when it comes to Sponsorship and Philanthropy, and certainly don’t benefit from tax breaks or subsidies. Nope, we have to scrabble for tiny (and ever-decreasing) pots of project funds and a handful of fellowships. If we talk about money at all we get criticised for being too commercially focused… which is ironic given that those comments are typically more about the struggles we all face than the profits we [never] make.

Independent artists are frequently labelled “doley bludgers”, which is laughable when you consider how little income can be sourced either from welfare or highly competitive funding rounds. In tragicomic hilarity this debasing moniker is rarely applied to those in receipt of mining corporation subsidies, mainstream media payoffs, legal tax loopholes for corporations and the global banking system (although the latter is significantly more apparent in the Northern Hemisphere). And don’t get me started on the billions we dole out on the militarisation of a country that’s never seen an international war threat on this land since the one we whitefellas started when we colonised it.

No, Independent artists are not doley bludgers, we’re a necessary part of a highly committed, deeply networked ecosystem. Every Independent artist I know around the world works several (part time, low paying, high demand) jobs while still being expected to work “for exposure” at commercial events desperate to up their cool ratings or corporate responsibility rankings. That those unstable paid roles are generally in education and social/community development roles is further damaged by Government cuts to those areas too. We whinge but we comply, scared of biting the hand that feeds. But if the hand is Government funding and mainstream appreciation of the arts, it’s important to point out that it is not actually feeding. This mythical hand is more realistically a drug dealing pimp: the first hit’s free; no you can’t do that, especially not there; thank you I’ll take my 30-50% of your labour now plus tax deductions… and don’t you dare complain or we’ll cut you off…

“It’ll never change” we say. Well no, it bloody well won’t if we don’t DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

Adelaide Fringe Festival

All that context might not seem relevant to many audiences of the Adelaide Fringe Festival, but it’s important to understand the ecosystem we all operate within. Especially when a bit of public controversy kicks off around a few ‘private’ facebook feed posts and impassioned face to face conversations at the grassroots level, between artists simply trying to protect themselves and their peers from falling down the same deep pits of self-funded fringe productions.

Basically, a few exchanges over the weekend are turning into a much more public-facing dialogue prompted by an article in InDaily yesterday, in which I’m quoted – along with other Adelaide Fringe Festival artist-friends Alexis Dubus (UK) and Tomas Ford (WA) and others – about a survey I’ve drafted. Later in the day The Australian followed up with another article on the same issue, with several radio interviews doing the rounds and even a UK network jumping on board. Last night the standard arts buzz had turned into a blur of actively engaged socio-political discussions. (What? Art and politics? Be still my beating heart!)

Honestly I think it’s a great thing that these conversations are more prominent – and why I want to work with Fringe to develop, distribute and analyse my survey so we can find out what audiences want too. In doing so my hope is that we can perhaps provide an opportunity to inform those audiences who might love the city’s festivals but be unaware of the situation Australian arts and culture currently faces, and more importantly, what they can do to more proactively work with us to protect it.

The contention is that the significant growth of Fringe over many years has been far too focused on a short-sighted Capitalist strategy which completely guts the grassroots heartbeat it was originally designed to pump. Sommat’s gotta give and we need to decide -collectively- how that change can be manifest for the betterment of both big names/budgets and small indies/low-no-budget productions. If we do this right, we can also remind the State (and hopefully by precedent, the country) that art and culture has an important value both within and additional to economic bottom lines.

Gentrification

Every single year of the eight years I have lived in Australia, we have had the same discussion in Adelaide at the end of the Mad March Festival season. “Is Adelaide Fringe still actually a fringe event?”; “Why do so many big names and big budgets always have to take over niche events?”; and of course everyone’s favourite, “Why does Adelaide’s entire cultural calendar have to happen in the same damn two months of every single year?!” Not to say this is exclusively an Adelaide thing, it’s not. I grew up in UK with Edinburgh Festival as the highlight of my year from the age of 13; god knows they have struggled with the same debates. Perth Fringe World, which has grown at an astonishingly rapid rate in only a few years, was fraught with similar outpourings this year. And yet growth continues… but at what loss?

We know the cycle, and it’s far from just a festival-centric one. The dirty end of town is ignored by commercial interests until the creatives move in and turn ugly to beautiful, empty to buzz, derelict to designer. At which point commercial interests are piqued, property rents soar and the creatives are evicted, only to move on to the next hovel and start the cycle all over again. Gentrification is the curse of creativity, and we are our own worst enemies for complying. Yet comply we do. Over and over again.

Much like the gentrification model of urban restructure, profiteering sharks are never far from creative buzz. In broad terms, from every festival I have ever known around the world (which are many), where there is a DIY energy it won’t be long before some entrepreneurial type pops up promising a return on investment. What this mostly boils down to is all the unpaid/low paid energy of the many being siphoned off by the smug few (… hello Capitalism). I’ve known festivals where the volunteers (often in Management positions) work themselves into a frenzy and end up emotionally and physically wrung out, promising to never do that again. But those up top don’t care – plenty more eager volunteers ready to step into their shoes next year. And so the cycle continues. Yes festivals are an incredible opportunity for significant exposure and work experience, but if the rewards aren’t shared equally it simply cannot be sustained.

Some of the bigger venues in the Fringe lineup have that reputation. I won’t name names but I bet any of you who know this scene will know precisely which venues I’m referring to. Stories of crappy treatment at both paid and unpaid staffing levels have been rife for years. But what upsets me even more than this ongoing DIY-abuse cycle is that these days some venues don’t even bother to thinly disguise their core interest: profit from booze, not investment in the artists or an all-encompassing, sustainable, Fringe culture ecosystem.

When a popup venue is designed with the feature attraction being the sale of alcohol and sells tickets just to enter the site for that purpose alone, you’ve gotta wonder what’s going on. When they also leave limited space for an all-encompassing Fringe experience (forbidding the use of Fringe Festival Artist Passes to fill empty seats, berating artists for giving away comps to artist colleagues despite empty seats being available, and prioritising the distribution of their own venue-specific programs over holistic Fringe programs) you’re likely to question what little respect they have for the broader Fringe ecosystem. But when ticketholders can’t even get in to see the shows they have paid to see because the venue is at full capacity with people who are mostly just there drinking; or when a city-wide blackout causes shows to be cancelled and the site refuses to pay the artists whose shows were abruptly cut off; or when big shows are flyering ticket lines with free seats because they can afford to…. oh come on.

I understand that these people invest a great deal of money into making vibrant city popups and that the Capitalist way is to prioritise their own significant return on investment. But I can’t help question: who do we do this for – the artists, the audiences, or the profits of venues? Not all venues act like this, yet all venues have their own bars and necessary commercial interests. Some appear to be team players and others less so. Fringe festivals are by their very nature built upon grassroots energy. When stories or evidence of imbalances occur they stick out even more than they would at a more overtly commercialised event. Yes there are many amazing shows and spaces and humans and a crazy amount of choice for audiences, but as with all life there are also sharks who care more about their own profits than they do the overall ecosystem. They just ruin it for everyone, which for some means they simply won’t return.

Audiences

Something’s not right here any more.
When I first came here in 2009 it felt like a genuinely experimental and exciting creative hub, with audiences seeking out tucked-away venues and subversive shows.
Having visited Adelaide before, I was blown away by how much this sleepy town got behind the weird and the wonderful offerings that Fringe threw at them.
Seven years on and those people seem to have vanished.

I’m not sure what can actually be changed at an open access festival that’s now seemingly allowed greed and complacency to dictate its direction, but part of the change has to be the attitude of Fringe-goers, who need to re-evaulate the meaning of “fringe.” I don’t want to be a hypocrite and be the one telling punters what they should be watching, but audiences choosing soulless, mass-produced bollocks over thoughtful, innovative works in quirky spaces is what has now turned the Fringe into what it was initially rallying against.
And when the enormous venues choose to throw out hundreds of free tickets (because they can), sometimes to people actually waiting in the box office queue to buy tickets for smaller shows that need their custom, this only creates an atmosphere of entitlement among Adelaide audiences, believing they should now get their entertainment for free. Time and time again, flyerers have been approached by folks who want a free ticket or are simply not interested.

[excerpt from Alexis Dubus’ facebook post]

While we all love to joke about the tumbleweed that exists outside of the annual Feb/Mar explosion, it is simply not true that nothing happens in Adelaide outside of festival season. There are a crazy amount of cultural events that happen year round, some are part/whole funded but many many more run on pure passion. The thing is that you have to go and seek them out far more than when they land on your doorstep thanks to the major efforts of a festival or big bucks promoter.

Adelaide has this bizarre ‘never book in advance’ attitude that I have never seen anywhere else (made all the more bizarre because we often do rock up on the night in our droves). As mentioned in the InDaily article, this results in us often losing out from big international names who, unfamiliar with our little quirks, simply don’t dare absorb the risk of expensive empty venues. These audiences moan about being seen as a small country town, but their actions do absolutely nothing to suggest they are anything more than exactly that. I love the intimate size of this city, it’s my Australian home and I regularly stand up for it against national criticism of the place. But we are our own worst enemies, and we need to accept that if we act like spoilt brats, becoming lazy and entitled in our expectation that art should come to us, we will continue to miss out.

So yes, I agree with Alexis that a large part of the problem lies with audiences; where are the audiences who want to think, not drink? However, I don’t really blame them for being this way. My finger points to the much bigger threats I started the post with: a broad societal misconception that arts/culture has no commercial value therefore it has no value at all, and the gentrification affect of commercial enterprises looking to cash in on cultural capital. Plus I have another wagging finger aimed at the heart of homogeneity: mainstream media.

There is a desperate lack of cultural criticism in the arts, and I don’t mean people who whinge (there’s certainly no shortage of them). As journalists and photographers are laid off, mainstream media relies heavily on puff pieces scraped lazily from press releases, and ‘reviews’ sourced via social media or volunteers. It’s an ongoing concern that I’m extremely familiar with from 20years in the media/experimental arts world (where we are simply too weird to bother writing about) and have had many passionate conversations about since living in Murdoch-land.

Adelaide local, Jane Howard, has been working tirelessly to kick this nonsense in the face for many years. Not only does she write professionally for Guardian Australia (and many other mainstream and journal outlets) but she recently called out a rather shonky ‘competition’ by Aspire Magazine, resulting in them changing their terms and conditions and creating a paid position (Go Jane!). And as if that wasn’t enough, she’s even published the secrets of her trade, all the more laudable given how little paid opportunity there is for a skilled craftswoman like herself in this undervalued arena.

Not only is mainstream media vital for the promotion of the arts (especially so for indies who can’t afford exorbitant advertising rates) but without a serious critical discussion around artworks and cultural practice, audiences can only witness a shallow veneer of our vitally rich and meaningful sector. How, when denied such awareness, can they even begin to appreciate Fringe as anything more than a few pretty pink fairy lights and the novelty of stilt walkers and fancy new bars for a few weeks? Perhaps given the homogeneity of mainstream culture we can’t blame the audiences at all.

Solutions?

So, what do we DO about all this? I’ve got a few ideas of my own from many years of festival engagement at all levels (including running them) and across many countries. Obviously I have also been actively engaged in recent discussions with ‘grit fringers’ and trying to keep up with the avid commentaries flowing from social media posts and media articles (when they’re not deleting them… ahem). Here’s a few ideas starting with direct actions we can take immediately and a few proposed models we can explore and reflect on over time.

1. Hold a Fringe Forum. The first thing we need to do (as I have proposed every damn year I’ve spent at Fringe, knowing what happened in Edinburgh and watching the same slow motion car crash happening here) is to actually get together and talk about it. Not a mud-slinging match, but a serious, open discussion featuring representatives from Festivals Adelaide, the Fringe team, the major and minor venues, big name producers, and independent ‘grit fringe’ artists. If needs be I’ll help organise it, webcast it and live-tweet it so we can get the broadest possible open-minded, ecosystem-centric dialogue and action plan kickstarted.

2. Survey artists and audiences. This is my first Fringe as an artist, so I’m guessing this happens anyway, but as the InDaily article mentioned* I’ve drafted a survey that asks the kinds of questions I’d like to know the answers to and I’ve shared with with a few other artists who have added suggestions. I have no interest in working against the Fringe, there’s a wonderful opportunity here to collaborate. Certainly with FringeTix designed how it is, only Fringe HQ get the contact details for audiences so it’s nigh-on impossible for the artists to get in direct contact with the people who attended their work (another bugbear of mine but that’s not for this post).

If Adelaide Fringe is going to continue to exist on the international indie’s ‘most desired festivals’ list, we are going to need bold shifts internally and an actively engaged public who are prepared to put their views out there. Even if their view is ‘we don’t care’ at least we can all pack up and stop wasting our energy. Not that there’s anywhere else to go as most countries struggle with the same concerns, but why bother investing good energy into places/people who don’t give a shit?

(* without asking permission to post a ‘private’ facebook status or interviewing me, by the way, but hey I know enough about digital culture to know that nothing online is private).

3. Create a genuine, year-round, holistic cultural ecosystem, part one: spread the love. It has been said So Many Times, but what if allthethings weren’t on at the same time? I understand there’s a desire to generate an extreme buzz, and a belief that one audience/artist trip can cover all tick boxes. But what this year undeniably demonstrates is that South Australia is simply neither a large enough or wealthy enough population to sustain it (especially under increasing austerity measures and unemployment). I heard rumour that Clipsal was down 20,000 attendance this year… while they’re not typically a core arts audience that still has to ring some alarm bells.

The Garden of Unearthly Delights and The Royal Croquet Club are big enough events with big enough budgets and revenues to exist in their own right. What if we let something like Adelaide Festival (and Clipsal, if it must) run in March, GOUD, RCC and their associated big bucks productions run in June, and Fringe run in September? It would spread out both cost and cultural exposure for audiences, allow the Fringe to be a ‘grit fringe’ again, and the big players can still hit up the winter season… when let’s face it, it’s not even bleedin cold here!

I’d also add that any true ecosystem would naturally have to pay it forward… what if a percentage of profits made by the more commercial events (which often don’t even stay in the State) actually got reinvested into a slush fund for local SA cultural producers? Invest in the stars of the future, stabilise a faltering economy, enable bold, risk-taking, experimental and emerging work to develop and be nurtured in a safe, mentored, fully resourced environment.

4. Create a genuine, year-round, holistic cultural ecosystem, part two: reinvent the model. In recent discussions I’ve learned about two innovations to the traditional fringe model which reinforce the basic grit fringe intention.

Edinburgh now has a “Free Fringe” which functions much more along the busking model. A hat passed round at the end gathers donations – if you liked it, throw some pounds in. All artists have to pay something back too but in time and energy not money – in return for being listed as a free fringe show you have to offer your time to support other free fringers. In a country where philanthropy has been slow, this comes with a certain amount of risk… but it’s worth considering.

Then there’s the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals model, which is frankly brilliant. It’s based on a lottery system, so all prospective artists apply but rather than being curated they get selected by pulling names out of a hat (it’s probably slightly more glamorous than that in reality, but nevertheless maintains the edgy, open-access beauty of grit fringe diversity). Venues don’t charge hire fees, all events charge a flat $10 fee to audiences but pass around a hat at the end – if you liked it you can throw in whatever you like which goes to the venue (who of course also make bar sales).

5. Create a genuine, year-round, holistic cultural ecosystem, part three: Fringe as infrastructure.

  • Mentor program for Critics. Many years ago I was Chair of a media arts network in the North West of England. As I’ve mentioned above, media arts never got mentioned in mainstream media because it was ‘too weird’, so in an effort to confront this misconception we resourced a mentoring program with student journalists from the North West. These budding critics were treated to private views and discussions with the artists about their final work, but also had access to the development process (with media arts, concept and development is often as, if not more, important than outcome). So what if Fringe creates a mentoring scheme which trains cultural critics and publishes their work as a core part of the Fringe year?
  • Sponsorship and Philanthropy. As also mentioned above, Sponsorship and Philanthropy are sorely inaccessible for indie artists and smaller venues. Fringe HQ could negotiate overarching deals based on the specific needs of each artist/venue. Sponsors/Philanthropists gain the big-brand association of “the Fringe Festival” plus an up-close and personal relationship with the smaller producers if they want to see a different side of cultural practice. This could even go as far as booze partnerships, with Fringe HQ securing cheap deals with wineries/breweries or big bottle shops like Dan Murphy’s. All venues purchase a low-cost bulk of quality provisions from Fringe’s stash. They can then add a decent markup to go toward venue costs, while avoiding the ridiculous $10/12 per drink costs for audiences (no it’s not that bad everywhere, but in some cases… hmmm).
  • Marketing & PR. With a program featuring a smaller number of events/artists, Fringe HQ marketing teams could have more time and focus to properly augment the promotions of the indies. Yes it’s important that we artists put our own efforts into our own marketing, and yes the artist’s tent at the Fringe Club has been offering sessions on social media etc, but a little extra help on the ground and some more in-depth professional development in the form of pre-fringe training would add a significant boost to the indie ecosystem. In combination with the critic’s mentoring program and the weight of Fringe HQ groundwork with mainstream media promotions, both artists and audiences win, bigtime.
  • Insurance Club. NAVA, Guildhouse and others offer an annual membership fee that includes significantly reduced insurance rates. Overseas artists are likely to pay extra as a foreign insurance company is more likely to increase the ‘risk association’ of working abroad. What if Fringe HQ took on the mantle, offering a special deal along the same lines as accredited membership for anyone who wants to take up additional cover for their materials/tech/selves/professional indemnity and public liability?

6. Create a genuine, year-round, holistic cultural ecosystem, part four: unionisation. Yes I used the U word. We don’t have an artist’s or cultural worker’s union in Australia, at least not outside the equivalent of an Equity model for actors. What if we did? The MPAB only became the wealthy little stockpile that they are because they essentially created their own little union, AMPAG. They got together, threw in some collective $$ toward a consultation, then lobbied hard – and won! Sure we indies don’t have nearly as much clout or buddies in politics to easily grease palms, but we could certainly better organise ourselves, both for Fringes across the country and general indie-centric campaigning. Because otherwise our only option is compliance and that’s clearly not working! Someone else also proposed a small venues union too (although I think he used the work ‘coalition’, but same difference), where the needs of the smaller spaces could be heard alongside the demands of the bigger ones.

OK, this last idea is my big one. I’m a big believer in RADICAL change. The arts needs it, the country needs it, the world needs it: Let’s DO THIS!

7. Let’s be the first State in Australia to provide a Basic Living Wage. In case you’ve never heard of this, the idea of a basic living wage (or Basic Income, or Guaranteed Minimum Income…) is hitting the headlines again thanks this time to Switzerland. The Swiss case is exploring offering a basic stipend of the equivalent of AU$3400 a month to every citizen, but it’s not the first and I damn well hope it’s not the last.

As with criticisms of The Commons model (where everyone gets equal access to land and waterways providing their use doesn’t prevent anyone else’s equal right of access), cynics believe if people are paid ‘money for nothing’ they won’t bother working, but the research points clearly to the contrary. Previous trials have seen citizens proactively do things like invest in their own education, establish new businesses, relieve themselves of crippling debts, pay for medical care or treatments, or thrive instead of struggle in unpaid primary carer roles.

In a State that keeps going on about Innovation and Sustainability, the basic income would put us firmly on the map, reduce welfare costs, enable self determination, and more than likely increase the population. We are widely known as being the ‘Startup State’ because we’re small enough to safely trial new concepts, but those businesses rarely stay once the trial has ended.

From the arts perspective it would create a safety net for artists wanting to develop work without going back to welfare or the decreasing funding bodies, and it would provide spare change for audiences who would be much more willing to then invest in something unknown. I’m not an economist, but I would dearly love for the idea to be even considered at a State (or even City) level and if I can help enable that process in any way, I’m in.

“In 1975, the Fringe changed to Focus. The idea was to bring focus onto the development of our own culture in South Australia.”

So (finally!) in conclusion, as the Fringe’s website states about its own history, 21 years after it decided to “bring focus onto the development of our own culture in South Australia”… isn’t it time to do exactly that again? Let’s not fight and squabble about who gets the most attention; let’s not whinge about the venues and punters who are more interested in binge drinking than creative culture. Instead let’s work together to build a genuine, year-round, holistic cultural ecosystem for the arts by recognising the value of the gritty, edgy, core of fringe culture outside of meagre dollar values. Let’s do this sustainably, reinvesting a percentage of those more commercially focused activities back into the people and places which make Fringe the diverse, eclectic, gloriously messy space that we all love so dearly.

P.S. Alexis Dubus still has two Fringe shows on, both of which are fabulously crafted pieces of artistry: Alexis Dubus Verses the World at Tuxedo Cat (last night tonight) and Marcel Lucont Is at Gluttony til 13th March. My work at Fringe Festival is hammocktime at Gluttony, a project that gives you permission to pause and reflect on what really matters in life. We have one weekend left – Fri, Sat and Sun from 12-6.30pm. Come along, you might like it, or at very least GO SEE SOMETHING YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF… because it might well become the next big hit and then you can be all Hipster about it x

[1] Gilpin, Robert (2000). The Challenge of Global Capitalism: The World Economy in the 21st Century. Princeton University: Princeton University Press. Introduction. ISBN 978-0-691-09279-9.