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A message from the Fringe Committee
YOUR FRINGE FESTIVAL NEEDS YOUR HELP!
If you read the paper or take in arts programmes on other media, you’ll know that now is a difficult time for arts funding in the UK. Nationally, events like the forthcoming Olympic Games are putting a strain on money available through bodies like the Arts Council. Locally, not only is sponsorship getting harder and harder to obtain, but the pressures on finances faced by Bath and North East Somerset Council means that this traditional source of some of the income for the Fringe Festival has diminished, and will continue to do so. After a good deal of work on both sides, the council is now once again financially supporting The Fringe (as well as practically), for which we are heartily grateful, and so should Fringe audiences and artists be.
Who runs the Fringe?
Bath Fringe Ltd is constituted as a co-operative, and has been running since 1992. It currently has a voluntary management committee of 8 people and two part-time not very well-paid workers, along with other volunteer help at festival time. The makeup of this committee has changed over time, though there are a couple of people who have been with us throughout. The Fringe also runs in loose association with Streats, a charity set up to promote high-quality national and international street theatre in Bath; and FAB – Fringe Arts Bath, the visual arts organisation which runs events during the Festival.
Where does the money come from for this festival?
As well as some core money from B&NES Council, the festival is dependent on the generous support of local businesses and other sponsors, including some quite substantial donations; without the generosity of these wonderful people you wouldn’t be reading this right now. Times are hard, financially; we're glad they've been able to stay with us this far, and we obviously hope they will continue.
As an organisation, the Fringe has never been swimming in money, and it’s fair to say that right now we’re barely paddling. We have got enough commited to project a festival for 2010 as well as this year, but beyond that (and, to be fair, in most matters financial at the moment) it's anyone's guess. Good thing Fringes are resilient!
How can I help?
If you’re a local (or national) business who is looking for sponsorship opportunities in the area, we would really like to hear from you. From small art shows to a huge Spiegeltent we have a venue and a profile to suit your needs. In these difficult times, alternatives to our traditional sources of core funding are vital - whether it’s £500 or £50,000 every penny is really appreciated.
Meanwhile, in order to help address the challenges we face and the evolving arts scene, the Fringe has been going through a period of organisational development, and this is continuing. It's actually been quite good! We are still aiming to beef up our management team a little further, and if you have what you believe to be relevant skills, then we’d love to talk to you about becoming a new Board Member or Trustee. We’re particularly looking for volunteers who are skilled and experienced in fundraising, marketing and business management. And who like lively, quirky and diverse arts festivals, of course.
How can I get involved?
If you’d like to know more about becoming involved with Bath Fringe Festival in any capacity, committee members will be available at many of this year's events, particularly those at the Spiegeltent and the street arts weekend - please feel free to talk to them about any aspect of the Fringe, its structure and funding, and how you might be able to get involved.
Working for the Fringe means a front-row seat at some of the best art events in the UK, as well as knowing that you’re doing something that impacts on thousands of people across the south west every year. For the last 17 years we’ve been bringing a great range of alternative, challenging and downright entertaining happenings to Bath and the surrounding area, and with your help we’ll still be here in 17 again. Roll on Fringe 2025!
There is inevitable always more to say on these topics before, during and after the Festival. If you're on our mailing list, or if you keep an eye on the Stop Press on the website here, you'll hear all about it