Vancouver Fringe looking to raise $80,000 after drastically cutting back scale of this year’s festival

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      Faced with issues ranging from rising production costs and a shortage of venues to a post-pandemic world where not everyone has re-embraced live entertainment, the Vancouver Fringe Festival is looking for help. 

      As it gets ready to celebrate its 40th anniversary later this year, the festival has announced a scaling back of programming by a third for 2024. 

      To ensure the future of the festival, the Fringe is looking to raise $80,000 through donations by May 31. 

      Fringe fans are being asked to contribute monthly. Longtime Vancouver arts supporter Leonard Schein has offered to match donations up to $10,000. 

      In a release, the Fringe said: “Unlike traditional performing arts presenters, Fringe Festivals return 100 per cent of ticket profits back to the artists. We also cover artists’ costs, such as staging, audience seating, lighting and sound equipment, ticketing services, and marketing. All told, we cover 80 per cent of what it would cost an artist to produce a show on their own.”

      The festival noted that skyrocketing rents in Vancouver continue to hurt arts groups, as does the closing of venues. Covid recovery grants have also began drying up, all this making running a festival in Vancouver a challenge.

      Asked what will happen of the $80,000 target isn’t reached, Vancouver Fringe Festival executive director Duncan Watts-Grant told the Straight: “The festival will be going ahead in 2024, but our ability to continue beyond the short term is contingent on support from our community. This fundraising is to make sure we have more years of festivals ... When we know someone has pledged to give every month, it allows us to plan for the future.”

      So far the Vancouver Fringe Festival has raised $9,000 of its $80,000 goal. Those interested in donating can go here.