Forget The London Fringe Festival

By Lindsey Last edited 109 months ago
Forget The London Fringe Festival

The Camden Fringe pigeon: punk and proud.
As mentioned last night, a fringe festival is planned for London, directly rivalling the dates of the Edinburgh Fringe. It's the brainchild of the guy behind the London Bridge Festival but we're not convinced. 18 venues are apparently involved in discussion with named places already spanning Mayfair, Shepherds Bush and Islington making it difficult to envision hopping from one thing to another without getting seriously pissed off. And are the Bush and the Almeida really fringe venues?

What we love about the 4 year old Camden Fringe and the infant Hot August Fringe at the RVT is that both programme in an authentic fringe style, focusing on small venues around a geographically manageable area. This is of course what makes the Edinburgh Fringe work - a mad concentration of venues in a compact city with key hubs where people gather to drink, discuss the string of shows they've managed to get to and generate a buzzy, decadent festival spirit whatever the weather.

Most performers want to go to Edinburgh if they can afford it - it's quite simply the place to be in August. If they can't, Camden and RVT offer cheap and spirited alternatives back home. Some acts even do both, using either as a warm up to an Edinburgh run.

We're spoilt in London with a thriving fringe scene year round - despite recession and arts funding cuts - via hundreds of funky small venues. Let this idea die, let the local fringe festivals flourish with their character and flair. You can't rival Edinburgh. As Veronica Lee suggests, why not divert this misguided organising zeal into planning something fringetastic and all encompassing to show off for 2012?

Last Updated 25 November 2009