Elgin Fringe Fest Celebrates Performing Arts Sept. 13-17
“Whatever happens … happens!”
That’s the motto and the mantra of Elgin Fringe Fest, which comes to the city’s “cafes, theaters, storefronts, and a variety of other locations” from Sept. 13 through Sept. 17.”
Fringe Festivals focus on performing arts but also include film, visual arts and music. Performances take place through the downtown area, and celebrate pretty much all things artistic.
According to the Fringe Fest website, the first Fringe Festival started in 1947 in Edinburgh, Scotland, as an alternative festival that played concurrently with the Edinburgh International Festival. There are more than 20 fringe festivals throughout the United States with more in Canada and Europe.
Downtown Elgin has been a prime location for a fringe festival because of its urban feel and proximity to Chicago.
“With the recent space additions of ArtSpace, Side Street Studio Arts, Elgin Art Showcase and the Next Wave Art Salon and Nightmare on Chicago Street events, Elgin has made a name for itself in the arts,” says Sean Hargadon, EFF executive director. “The city’s unique architecture, easy walking access, and supportive community is an exciting stew of creative activity.”
Now heading into its fourth year, the Elgin Fringe Festival is a member of the United States Association of Fringe Festivals and the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals.
“We are first come, first served; uncurated; uncensored; (and give) 100 percent back to the artists,” the website says.
Fringe Fest By the Numbers
In 2016, the festival increased its box office sales by 38 percent from the previous year and filled more than 2,000 seats in all events combined — another increase close to 20 percent from the previous year.
This festival featured close to 200 artists — the most in fringe history — who presented 120 performances in venues as varied as a basement, cafe, pub, park, gallery, ballroom and a church.
The 2016 festival also offered an expanded Family Fringe festival and a new two-day musical event.
Overall, since its inception in 2014, the unjuried festival has presented 350 performances, including dance, music, theater, spoken word and comedy, while recording approximately $30,000 in box office sales, all of which goes back to the artists and performers.