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Organizers say fundraiser for Edmonton’s Fringe Festival is showing success

A campaign launched by the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is showing some success at a time when organizers say the event is struggling financially.

During an announcement to unveil the theme of this year’s festival, organizers provided an update Friday to the “Sustain Fringe” campaign, which calls on the community to support the “transformative power of the arts.”

The organization launched the campaign in March, asking the community to donate, sponsor the festival or volunteer their time to help the popular summer festival stay afloat.

“Expenses are skyrocketing; funding is dwindling; and previously dependable revenues are not keeping pace with the cost of producing our event,” said Megan Dart, executive director of the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival, at the time.

“This rapidly evolving challenge is threatening the very fabric of our festival and others like it. Without immediate support, our festival will be very different.”

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More than 290 people have become monthly donors, raising $100,000 since the campaign launched.

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Edmonton Fringe, the largest and longest-running festival of its kind in North America, is still recovering from the $3-million loss in revenue it experienced after cancelling its 2020 event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Based on industry insights, what was previously believed to be a three to five-year recovery window in the arts, is now being estimated at a 10-year post-pandemic rebuild,” Dart said in March.

Organizers encourage the community to become monthly donors, purchase tickets for the Fringe 50/50 or sponsor the Fringe.

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Fringe is looking to raise $300,000 by the end of this year’s festival, which returns to Old Strathcona from Aug. 15 to Aug. 25.

Fringe to spotlight 216 productions, more than 1,600 performers

The Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival, now in its 43rd year, will spotlight 216 productions across 38 venues, featuring more than 1,600 local, national and international artists.

Last year, the festival received more than 500,000 site visits, drove more than $16 million into the local economy and returned more than $1.2 million in ticket sales directly to the artists.

The theme for this year’s event is “Find Your Fringe.” Alongside aspects like the infamous Late Night Cabaret, which will move from the Backstage Theatre to the Granite Curling Club, the Indigenous-centred performance series pêhonân will make a return.

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More information on the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival can be found on the event’s website.

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