Thursday, September 5, 2013

Artists Unite… and Tear Each Other Apart = part 2

Tonight is the opening of the Amsterdam Fringe. 

I just got back from the Edinburgh Fringe, and I’m eager to join in the buzz. I wonder if I should go hand out flyers for my show? (absolutely not)

The Edinburgh Fringe apparently had more shows than ever this year. And it was pretty crowded as far as I could tell. Yet I’ve never noticed the level of cutthroat turf battles I saw this year. 

- Int’l vs Fringe. Of course, it should be mentioned that the Fringe is itself a split-off from the International Festival. Now it’s much bigger than the Int’l Festival. But they’re cool.

- The Fringe vs. the Free Fringe. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is such a mecca for comedians that it’s largely become a comedy festival. By now there is a conglomerate of venues, known as The Big 4 – aka ‘The Commercial Fringe.’ The Pleasance, Gilded Balloon, Assembly and Underbelly are all gathered around the Univ. of Edinburgh’s Bristo Square.
BUT – as an alternative to the Commercial Fringe – there’s the Free Fringe. It’s a collective of venues who agree to pass the hat instead of charging admission. They’re now at least 10 years old and have more venues and shows than ever. Recently, they’re also racking up something new: awards. (see previous blog 25 august) 

- SO maybe it's not financially impossible to put on a show in Edinburgh...

- AND maybe the Free Fringe will bring balance and harmony? NOT QUITE. Now there are TWO free fringes: The PBH Free Fringe and the Laughing Horse Free Fringe. Why? Because PBH = Peter Buckley Hill, and he had a falling out with the other guy, who stole his idea and started the split-off. Enough bad blood? Not even close!

- The biggest, most awkward rift is the Assembly situation. The Assembly Rooms closed down a few years ago for renovations. The organizers relocated the Assembly to be part of the Big 4 – temporarily. Meanwhile, you may ask, aren’t there any resident comedy clubs in Edinburgh? Don’t they take part in the Fringe? Why, yes – there’s The Stand. By Edinburgh, for Edinburgh.
The Stand run the Assembly ROOMS. The Brits run the Assembly FESTIVAL (as well as the others in the Big 4)

And – quicker than you can say ‘Scottish nationalism’ – somehow The Stand moved into the renovated Assembly Rooms instead of the original Assembly. The British owner of the Assembly name took his Eton-educated haughtiness straight to the Edinburgh city council and was reportedly laughed out of the building. Keeping his stiff, properly British upper lip, the Assembly changed its name to the Assembly Festival – with their own guide - and the Assembly Rooms also have their own guide.
The Assembly Festival has its traditional Spiegel Tent. The Assembly Rooms have recreated their old Spiegel Tent – known as the ‘Famous Spiegel Tent.’ The result of all this bitter rivalry is a lot of pissed-off punters showing up at the wrong place and wasting thousands of Pounds, giving the entire festival a bad name.

Hopefully, the Amsterdam Fringe will never succumb to such petty in-fighting. BUT – I just found out the show where I agreed to perform tonight is not part of the Fringe, but part of the Amsterdam Free Fringe… 

I brought this to the attention of the Fringe director Anneke, and she said ‘the more the merrier! Tell them next time to answer their emails, and we’ll include them in the listings!’
I’ll tell them.

No comments:

Post a Comment