Fringe Fest returning to Jefferson Park but fewer days





by BRIAN NADIG

The annual Chicago Fringe Festival will be returning to the Jefferson Park business district this Labor Day weekend, but a scaled-back production schedule is planned.

The festival, which features a variety of independent acting, singing and dancing performances, will be held Thursday, Aug. 30, to Monday, Sept. 3, at various locations in the Milwaukee-Lawrence commercial district. In recent years the festival also was held the weekend after Labor Day, but this year’s festival will end on Labor Day.

Festival executive director Anne Cauley issued the following statement: “The festival staff and board are always looking at ways to improve the Chicago Fringe Festival experience for performers, patrons and volunteers. As we prepare for our 10 th anniversary in 2019, we want to focus on building a more sustainable festival structure.

“By returning to our roots as a one-weekend festival, we will be able to refocus on building our community, to enhance the festival atmosphere and to explore exciting new ideas that our team has never had the capacity to take on. We look forward to sharing the new take on a Chicago-style Fringe this fall.”

The 2018 festival will have 24 performers instead of the usual 50 and will include “Kids Fringe,” which includes shows designed for children.

Performers are chosen through a lottery, which opened for applicants on Friday, Jan. 19.

Last year’s festival included a controversial one-man show on the topic of pedophilia. Event organizers said that performers are chosen on random basis and that shows are not censored.

All of the revenue generated from ticket sales goes to the performers, and the 2017 festival had an attendance of about 3,900, generating about $30,000 for the artists, according to event organizers. Ticket sales were up 3 percent from 2016.

A total of $240,000 has been raised for the performers in the first eight festivals.

Fringe festivals are held annually throughout the world.