Kelowna Fringe Festival Promises To Entertain

Fringe Festival

The inaugural Kelowna Fringe Festival runs September 19th to 22nd.

The festival will see artists from all around the world descend upon downtown Kelowna to perform for local audiences. There are 12 companies/performers participating - several from the Okanagan and one from as far away as Western Cape, South Africa.

At its heart, Fringe is a series of performances and audiences will be treated to everything from comedy to conversation-provoking dance. All of the performers were chosen by lottery.

Tickets for the Kelowna Fringe Festival are just $15, dropping to $13 for those who attend four or more shows. Aside from a $2 ticket fee, 100% of the ticket proceeds will go to the artists.

All of the artists will perform five times during the festival and the festival’s Marketing Director, Vincent Jones of By Jove Co., believes the festival is a big deal for Kelowna:

“I think this is tremendously exciting for our city! Part of the beauty of Fringe is the egalitarian nature of it - the fact that the artists are selected by lottery means you are seeing seasoned Fringe acts alongside those who are just starting to share their work. I believe there’s an appetite for Fringe in our community and fingers crossed Kelowna will continue to get behind it - the response has been really robust so far. I would encourage local art and culture fans to pick a show or two they like the look of and then maybe to take a risk on a couple they’re not so sure about too… live on the edge! At Fringe, you never know what you’re going to get, and that’s part of the fun!”

All of the performances, which are capped at a maximum one-hour length, will take place across four accessible downtown Kelowna locations: the Salloum Room at the Rotary Centre for the Arts (421 Cawston Avenue), the Sun FM Dance Studio at the Rotary Centre for the Arts, Metro Community (1262 St. Paul St.) and the Black Box Theatre (1375 Water Street - behind the Kelowna Community Theatre).

For those on a budget, the festival does have a few volunteer opportunities remaining. Those who volunteer will get a free Kelowna Fringe t-shirt as well as free access to shows (volunteers are allowed to watch the shows they work).

For Jones, the addition of the Kelowna Fringe Festival is another key development in Kelowna’s cultural growth:

“To have a true Fringe is something that will help to grow Kelowna’s cultural reach not only locally and nationally, but internationally. There are eyes far and wide on the Kelowna Fringe Festival and hopefully, this first year will be a smash hit. I have lived in Kelowna for fifteen years and through the hard work of many talented and committed people, businesses and organizations - including the City of Kelowna, the arts and culture sector just keeps growing and growing. Let’s keep it up!”

The 2019 Kelowna Fringe Festival has been organized by a committee of the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan (ARTSCO) and begins on Thursday, September 19th. Those who have been in the Okanagan since the 90s may recall that there was a short-lived Fringe Festival in Kelowna at the end of the last century. However, the new Kelowna Fringe is not affiliated with any previous festivals that have been attempted.