Well, Fringe 2014 is over and it was a great year to Fringe.
This May, there was nearly 50,000 who came out to Loch Haven Park for the 23rd annual Fringe Festival. Most importantly, there were lots of new Fringers in the audience for this year’s festival. Fringe general manager George Wallace, points out was that, a survey taken during the festival showed, 27 percent of the respondent said they had never been to the Fringe before. The festival also increased it’s reach outside of Orlando, 15% of respondents said they came from elsewhere in Florida to attend the festival, and 13% said they visited from other states.
Festival Producer, Michael Marinaccio added that the string a great weather this year contributed also. As did a new discount-ticket 10-Pack, which encouraged theatergoers to see more shows and scrapping the less-popular early/late-night weekday show-times when audiences tend to be thin. Two experiments showed promise, he said; a program in which nearby restaurants sold specialty food items was popular, but will be more heavily promoted next year. Moving the Visual Fringe Art Bazaar, a weekends-only art show and sale, to Orlando Museum of Art improved attendance there, but also will require still more communication with Fringe-goers, he said
Parking, always a source of complaints, ran smoothly this year, Wallace said. With options more widely explained on the Fringe website, people arrived with a strategy. More festivalgoers took advantage of a bike-valet service, the second year of a program in which an attendant keeps an eye on the bicycles of attendees while they see shows.
Marinaccio and Wallace are already planning improvements for next year. With more people in the park eating and drinking, the festival may add portable toilets next year. To help with the increase in first-time Fringe-goers, an information booth is a likely addition at the entrance to the outdoor food-and-drink area.