Buxton Fringe has announced that it will be relaxing its entries deadline (formerly June 1) in order to allow new events to come forward following the inevitable cancellation of some live performances with more likely to follow suit unless social distancing restrictions are significantly lifted.
The hope is to increase the number of Covid-19 proof entries on the Fringe with innovative online-only events or other initiatives, perhaps outdoor, that do not contravene government guidelines.
In recognition of the difficulties faced by many artists and performers this year, the Fringe has also made a historic decision that for this year only the entry fee is being scrapped altogether. In the coming weeks, all current entrants are to be contacted to see if they are still able to be part of the Fringe. Either way, they will receive full refunds.
In order to retain maximum flexibility until July 1st when the Fringe begins, there is to be no printed programme but Marketing Officer Stephanie Billen says the Fringe is still hoping that entrants won’t leave it till the last minute to apply.
“The sooner you complete your online entry, the sooner we can start publicising your event on the website, the Fringe App, through social media and press releases. Building up a programme that definitely works for 2020 is going to be tricky so we want everyone to think creatively and spread the word to prove that the arts are alive and well in our beautiful town,” she said.
The Fringe’s well-respected Reviews system is still planned to go ahead offering valuable feedback for performers and a record of a unique year.
The Fringe itself is considering how to proceed with versions of its own events such as Fringe Sunday and Fringe@5 with more news on these expected in the coming weeks. A new online version of its celebrated Fringe40 archive exhibition is already on the website – http://www.buxtonfringe.org.uk
Fringe chair Stephen Walker said: “This year’s Fringe will certainly be different; it is likely to be much smaller than usual, but we hope that online entries will encourage creativity and innovation in how performers and artists engage with our audiences, so though we may be small we still hope to be beautiful.”