About World Fringe

About World Fringe

The international Fringe Festival Association set up to serve the global Fringe community, including festival staff, venues, performers & artists, agents, audiences, suppliers, media, sponsors & supporters, and wider industry professionals.

World Fringe organises and facilitates one-to-one meetings, conversation and spreading the word about existing Fringe Festivals as well as consulting with new and developing Fringes. World Fringe hosts networking events, conferences, talks and workshops on where to go and how to get involved. It offers advice on whose who, what’s on where and how it can be useful. World Fringe educates the festival sector and audiences on the importance of ‘Fringe’.


What is a Fringe?

‘Fringe’ comes from a ‘Fringe of another Festival’ or ‘Fringe Arts’. ‘Fringes’ administer shared risk: not a single pot of money coming from one place to produce a programmed event, it is about support, development, accessibility and everyone involved, including artists, venues, audiences and funders, investing together in a creative platform and delivering a unique & organic occasion.

Fringe Festivals come in all different shapes and sizes; some are open access (anyone can take part by registering), first come first served, created by lottery, juried, part programmed or a mix of them all.

They are born from passion and hard work; a passion for development, for creating a platform and for seeing and realising new ideas and initiatives. Fringes are exciting sparks where stars are made; they are the ‘excellence’ of the future.


History of Fringe

In the city of Edinburgh in 1947 eight theatre groups turned up in uninvited wanting to perform at the (then newly formed) Edinburgh International Festival, an initiative created to celebrate and enrich European cultural life in the wake of the Second World War. Not being part of the official programme of the International festival didn’t stop these performers – they just went ahead and staged their shows anyway. Year on year more and more performers followed their example and in 1958 the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society was created in response to the success of this growing trend.

Brighton Festival had the same thing happen in 1967 when it began, but it incorporated the ‘open access’ part of the festival within its programme until 2002 when it became the Fringe we know today. Similarly Adelaide Fringe began in the early 1970’s as a reaction to the Adelaide Festival of Arts. The two festivals then went on to join forces and become one.

Since then hundreds of cities have seen the same organic phenomenon of Fringe festivals forming. This booming Festival sector has picked up the pace in recent years as we see more and more new Fringe Festivals begin.


History of World Fringe

World Festival Network Managing Director, Holly Payton-Lombardo has been avidly working for, supporting and researching Fringe Festivals and their performers since 2001. World Fringe launched as a subsidiary of the World Festival Network in 2012.

The Network was formed in early 2000 while Holly Payton-Lombardo was Manager at the Brighton Fringe and was Director of a venue at the Edinburgh Fringe. She was fascinated by the passion within Fringe staff and performers and made it a mission to introduce performers to visiting Fringe staff, and Fringe staff to each other.

This developed into an organised format during the Edinburgh Fringe via a panel talk of Fringe Managers (Fringe Festivals Around The World) where Directors of Fringes would talk about their festivals to an audience of artists and arts professionals. The Fringe Festivals Around The World Event, which happens every third weekend of the Edinburgh Fringe, is now in its 9th year!

Holly travelled the world visiting Fringe Festivals and researching how to support all those involved in the sector. With the help of Cath Mattos, the World Festival Network was able to concentrate more time on the needs of Fringe Festivals; it has begun to create touring routes, introducing more Fringe staff to each other, advising more performing companies, lecturing on Fringe, running workshops about Fringe and consulting on new and developing Fringes across the globe. It partnered in running the Inaugural World Fringe Congress with the Edinburgh Fringe Society in 2012 where over 80 Fringe Festival professionals, representing 49 Fringes from 20 countries met for the very first time to discuss this ever expanding Festival Sector.


Mission of World Fringe

World Fringe operates to unite, strengthen & connect the Fringe Festival Sector and global Fringe community through introduction, communication, education and the dissemination of information.


Objectives of World Fringe

To promote Fringe Festivals throughout the world to sponsors, artists, suppliers and audiences.

To host a range of opportunities for information and knowledge sharing and networking amongst the Fringe Festival industry.

To provide up to date, high quality information to the Fringe Festival sector and audiences.

To highlight and promote best practice and new developments within the Fringe Festival sector.

To create a means to unite all who are involved in the Festival industry.

To make Festival information useful and more accessible.

To encourage audiences, travel, synergies and collaboration.

To expose issues and keep the industry fresh and up to date with political agendas; highlight global developments and to monitor trends.

To lobby as ‘one voice’ for a united sector.

To encourage touring and to strengthen artist development and opportunities.

To create a platform for staff and volunteer exchange and employment.

To educate on what a Fringe Festival is, and the platforms and opportunities they provide.

To support performers, artists, touring companies, producers and agents.

We make no profit from Fringe Festival Societies.