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In 1982, Edmonton hosted the first Fringe Festival in Canada; they hoped to provide a direct link between theater artists and their audiences, by adapting a simple formula that was created by the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 35 years previously. The tremendous success and growth of The Edmonton Fringe Festival soon led to the creation of Fringe Festivals across Canada and the United States.
In 1990 the various Fringe producers began to meet annually to talk about their respective festivals, swap ideas, and share resources. Over the next few years, there was growing concern that the ideals and principles originally inherent to a Fringe Festival were becoming more and more muddled by numerous theater events that referred to themselves as being a “Fringe” but who chose not to abide by the principles of the Edinburgh Fringe.
In order to preserve these “Fringe” ideals and principles these producers came together to form the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals and codify the four guiding principles of a true Fringe Festival:
Participants will be selected on a non-juried basis, through a first-come, first served process, a lottery, or other method approved by the Association.
The audience must have the option to pay a ticket price, 100% of which goes directly to the artists (government taxes notwithstanding.)
Fringe Festival producers have no control over the artistic content of each performance. The artistic freedom of the participants is unrestrained.
Festivals must provide an easily accessible opportunity for all audiences and all artists to participate in Fringe Festivals.
The mission of the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals is to unite, support, empower, and strengthen festivals in order to cultivate and foster independent, artistic exploration for artists and audiences across North America.
The Orlando Fringe is a proud member of CAFF, which only 6 US based festivals are members of. There are 26 total member festivals. For more information on CAFF, member festivals, schedule and lottery information, visit www.fringefestivals.com.