New Fringe Festival comes September 19 to 22. Photo: contributed

Kelowna Fringe Fest gets new life

The Arts Council of the Okanagan delivers a newer local festival

Kelowna is launching its own, newer version of the Kelowna Fringe Festival this fall.

Modeling after the popular festivals in Edmonton or Edinburgh, the new annual Kelowna Fringe Festival is being organized by a committee of the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan (ARTSCO). Executive director Dustyn Baulkham believes Fringe will bring a boost to the region’s cultural calendar.

“We’re extremely excited to be bringing a true Fringe Festival to our region. Not only is it another performance opportunity for locals, but it brings artists who might not otherwise have visited our area to the Okanagan,” said Baulkham.

“We have already received applications from across Canada, and even one from as far away as South Africa. It should be an amazing few days.”

Coming Sept. 19 to 22, the new Fringe Festival is growing from last year’s A Taste of Fringe teaser, and is a separate festival from the short-lived Fringe Festival in Kelowna in the 1990s.

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A lottery will determine the performers for the festival this year. Three spots out of 12 performers will be reserved for Okanagan-based companies; each company will perform five times.

There are several commitments that set Fringe Festivals apart: there’s no curation as artists are selected by lottery, there are no parameters or censorship on content, and there’s a dedication to accessibility for all with fees and ticket prices being kept low with a 100 per cent of the ticket price going to the artists.

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For Baulkham, that’s part of what makes Fringe so exciting.

“Because it is a lottery, you never know what you’re going to get with Fringe, and that is part of the beauty of it. It’s egalitarian and open to all. That means guests could see an incredible show or a not so incredible show, but either way, it’s probably going to be mind-blowing and will definitely be worth the ticket price.”

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Tickets go on sale later this year. More information can be found at kelownafringe.ca.

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