Happy Opening Week of Melbourne Fringe!

Congratulations to all those independent artists – comedians, cabaret acts, performers, circus performers, singers, stage hands, directors, visual artists, etc. – who are gearing up for tonight’s preview night of the 2015 Melbourne Fringe Festival! This year’s program features over 400 events involving 5,000 artist participants in over 175 venues and extending over 19 days, making this the largest Fringe ever! According to Fringe Festival CEO, Simon Abrhams in a TimeOut Melbourne article, “Our facts and figures [indicate] we reach over 300,000 people entirely through the independent arts in just 19 days.”

It seems that this year, in particular, is a crucial year for Melbourne Fringe and all the independent artists who participate. Abrahams reflects on the recent government arts funding cut in the same TimeOut Melbourne article, saying, “There’s no doubt that the independent arts in Australia currently are under attack. I believe that is entirely through a lack of understanding of the significant audience impact, artistic impact and industry connectivity that these parts of our arts sectors provide.”

What’s so special about Melbourne Fringe Festival? First, in my observation, it marks the beginning of Melbourne’s spring/summer festival season. Soon following the Fringe Festival is the Melbourne Festival, also featuring an exciting lineup of music, performance, art exhibitions, comedy acts and more! We will address Melbourne Festival in the future.

Secondly, Melbourne Fringe Festival is an opportunity that most artists seize to try new ideas and projects. In an article by The SydneyMorning Herald, Abrahams states, “For emerging artists, it’s a space where they can try new things, can learn their craft. It’s an incredibly supportive context. But what I love about Melbourne Fringe is that it’s also full of really established senior artists, as well who use it as a time to work up shows that they might go on to tour, or they might be trying to extend and experiment with their practice.” One example is long-time children’s singer-songwriter, Peter Combe who is performing an adult show for the first time ever! In a recent interview for The Sydney Morning Herald, Peter Combe says, “The notion of singing along to children’s songs at 10 o’clock on a Saturday night is weird, but they just love it…It’s very touching to see these people rediscovering these songs they grew up on.” Will you be caught singing along in the audience too?

Lastly, Melbourne Fringe Festival offers not only something for everyone including a children’s program, but all the events are on sale at affordable prices; most events are available for purchase at just over $20. Additionally, the 175 venues used throughout festival expand across all of Melbourne’s inner-city suburbs – Carlton, North Melbourne, Northcote, Melbourne CBD, South Melbourne, St. Kilda and more. Check out what’s going on in your neighbourhood!

Furthermore, keep your eyes on BcauseARTS’s blog as I write about many of the events at Melbourne Fringe. Maybe it will inspire you to check out something new!

If you have an event featured in the Fringe program that would like BcauseARTS to review, please contact bcausearts@gmail.com.

Like always, for more information, or to purchase tickets to a Melbourne Fringe event, please visit www.melbournefringe.com.au.