|A mechanical pig on a bike – such is the Adelaide Fringe|
|People do a lot of sitting down at the Fringe|
|This glowing cuttlefish was one of the Mascots,|
Enough of the music festivals because you are probably wanting to find out a bit more about the festival itself. Well, it opens with a parade down Rundle Street (though I have always arrived a little too late to actually see the parade, so have ended up going and doing other things, such as a rave at Adelaide University) and then for the next four weeks there are a huge number of acts featuring comedy, drama, art displays, theatre, music, and interpretive dance. True to form these events can be found throughout the city, some in proper theatres, some in pubs and clubs, some in abandoned warehouses and disused shops, and some is specially made stages that spring up in the various parks and gardens around Adelaide.
|I don’t think they can fit all that many people in here.|
Sometimes the venue itself can be almost as artistic as the performance within.
|I’m not really sure what is in that Black Box|
While the Fringe was originally a showcase for artists that ‘weren’t good enough’ for the Adelaide Festival, the Fringe has now drawn acts from all over the world and a number of big name stars will perform amongst the plethora of other acts, and many of the Australian artists are regular performers. We even have acts and artists come from overseas, including Jimoean. This year they had a hedge maze imported all the way from the United Kingdom.
As the event developed, a number of precincts were established where performers would set up their tents amongst food stalls and rides (including the ubiquitous Ferris Wheel). The Garden of Unearthy Delights is the most well known and popular (having been around since 2006) precinct and has pretty much become the hub of the Fringe. However, there are other precincts, and some have also appeared in the suburbs. One precinct that I visited this year was The Royal Croquet Club, which has appeared in Victoria Square, as well as Gluttony, which is in Rhymel Park, across the road from the Garden of Unearthly Delights. Unfortunately, due to the crowds all trying to get into the garden I was unable to visit it this year.
|It reminds me of the giant robots in Kinshasha|
Many of the laneways of Adelaide are also transformed into venue spaces serviced by pop up bars.
|It makes Rundle Mall a lot more night life friendly.|
And of course what would an arts festival be without a night market?
|Complete with fancy cacti|
So, I guess the question is: who can perform at the Fringe? Well, anybody. In fact you don’t even have to be any good. Okay, you do have to fund yourself (and if you are from interstate or overseas then you better have some cheap accommodation, because it is going to be pretty hard to find) and you do have to pay a one off registration fee, however the Fringe does help you by publishing your show in their program, and also assisting you with locating a venue, promotion, and even visa applications. Moreso, if you have a space where you would be happy to have some strange and extraordinary performances (or just a bunch of paintings hanging on your wall) the Fringe is more than happy to have you put yourself forward as a venue, and will even provide assistance with the logistics. No wonder this event has grown to become one of the biggest in Australia and has also received world wide acclaim.
|Some artists even bring their own tents|
Sure, I haven’t seen as many shows as others have, but I have seen some real shockers (such as the adaptation of Hamlet that seemed like it was half an hour of actors arguing amongst themselves), but I have also seen some real gems (such as King Lear and Heath Franklin’s Chopper). I still remember my first ever Fringe show back in 1998 which was a comedy show that began at 11:00 pm and turned out to be quite clean. Much has changed since then, and with the model that they use it is sure to continue to grow and transform for years to come.
Next time I come back I’m going to have to spend more than a single night looking at all of the wonders that it has to offer.
My trip to the Adelaide Fringe Festival by David Sarkies is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you wish to use this work commercially please feel free to contact me.