Here we are, delving again into the World of Fringe. St. Lou holds no strong reputation as a Festival Town, but there is a deep spirit that appreciates and celebrates community and culture, and we see established festivals and fairs grow year by year, consistently accompanied by emerging efforts.
Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis seems to be on an ever growing incline, and their Shake38 has proven an outlet for the passionate Shakegeeks to stretch themselves creatively over the past two years. Companies like HotCity and First Run commit themselves annually to new works festivals, and other regulars on the theater zip have provided opportunities as well. And Grand Center has been living up to its reputation as the Intersection of Art and Life, when it transforms itself every First Night and literally has people Dancing in the Street.
There's old favorite like TG's Festival of Nations; FP's African Arts, Earth Day and Great Balloon Race; Rib America and Fair St. Louis downtown; Clayton's Art Fair; MoBot's Japanese Fest, LouFest...
And new kids on the blocks of the Grove and Midtown Alley.
So where will Fringe fit?
This summer, I meandered through live music fests and stumbled upon live acts without even meaning to. I wandered from corners of live drum corps to intersections with fire spinners. In the early 2000's, a comedy and improv-centric Fringe Fest charmed for a while - but from what I understand, it wasn't the right time for that fest. I think the living, thumping, fiery street corners are requesting a brave return.
As far as I know, this will be the first 100% unjuried, 100% uncensored, 100% accessible performing arts festival in the Lou.
Are we ready? Yes.
Are we set? Gettin' there, closer by the day.