The Edinburgh Fringe festival, the mother fucking pinnacle of arts festivals world wide. A glorious consortium of drag, performance art, singing, theatre and those forms of art you don’t quite understand and definitely can’t categorise. Overall its an absolutely incredible month for those visiting, those performing and in my case for those working.
The extent to which the world of the fringe is all encompassing can be summarised by the fact I am writing this blog post as a form of catharsis. An affective love letter to the month in which Edinburgh becomes the most beautifully vibrant, liberal and welcoming city. Admittedly my month was interjected with drunkenness, disgruntled members of the public, more 6am finishes than i would care to mention and at times literal shit. But by god it was good.
I’ve noted before the extent to which I believe the art world on the whole to be leaning towards elitism, nepotism and exclusivity. That for such a supposed platform of freedom of expression for all, it doesn’t necessary get its voice across to everyone. Due to the continual lack of accessibility for artists and patrons alike. However within this particular set of circumstances, that is the Fringe, my world view has been shifted. What fringe festivals offer, with their very name implying their resonance with the fringes of society, is the opportunity for artists from all backgrounds and varying levels of success to collaborate and perform on the same stages. Whether individuals perform under the big 4 (Gilded Balloon, Under Belly, Assembly and Pleasance), within smaller venues or for the free fringe they are all contributing to the tapestry of events on offer.
The acts stem from an incredible range of backgrounds. With a significant amount of representation of minorities whether that be ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender or disability. A phenomenon which could be argued to positively correlate with the diversity of patrons who attend the fringe.
This inclusive atmosphere could be seen to permeate everywhere. Admittedly working front of house meant that I inevitably met some utter twats. But it also meant I had the pleasure of meeting and working with the most wonderful people from all different walks of life who came together as a family.
I think if I have come away with anything from this month, bar the yearning for next august to come around quickly, its the ideal that the art world should always function in such a way. It should always be inclusive, liberal and welcoming.