Matt Tiller's Report

Performer reviews of their venues/shows/experience in 2008

Matt Tiller's Report

Postby matt.tiller » 14 Sep 2008, 00:05

Hello everyone

First off, I had a great time this year and found the Free Fringe an excellent event to be a part of. Audiences were mostly good (in size and quality), the venue (Canons’ Gait) was excellent, far better than many of the paid venues of a similar size, the staff were helpful and friendly, other acts were lovely, the space was great for comedy and most elements worked well, so a big thank you to everyone there and to PBH.

Here are some thoughts…

I think the duty needs to be spelt out to people long before the festival, not that the tasks should be proscriptive – you can work out the best way to work it with the shows either side of you – but that groups must know that they are committed to a certain amount of time before and after their shows. I found the attention to this erm, varied. It did not spoil my experience as the show was pretty chilled out and didn’t need a lot of set up, but I think everyone needs to know that there is a commitment. I’m not saying I was perfect, I did occasionally chat to mates who’d come to the show in the bar after, but I stuck around and would keep an eye out for latecomers or any other problems.

Flyering – it’s difficult to police, but people should try and flyer with the brochure, it helps everyone. I found people were interested and if you can recommend some (and you know they are good) then people will trust the Free Fringe. I found that some groups made that effort, some didn’t.

Finance – I agree with all the comments that PBH should not be going out of pocket. I’d happily contribute some money, but I know Peter does not want the Free Fringe to become a paid festival by stealth. So here’s an idea – every group must arrange one fund raising gig before the festival and contribute the proceeds to the central fund. It doesn’t have to be a big affair – if each of us had a collection at one of our previews or organised one gig where we collected for the festival then this would provide a substantial fighting fund. We should at least be able to get the £25 each that someone mentioned and probably more. This would be in the spirit of the Free Fringe and no pressure should be put on the amount raised, just that an effort is made and some funds are forthcoming.

That’s about it. It’s very difficult to police certain elements. People should not moan about any of the perceived downsides of the Free Fringe – lack of reviews etc. It’s clear that if you make the effort and have a good show that you will get attention – several shows proved that this year. But everyone seems very positive. I am too and that’s a good thing to remember amidst the inevitable negative points that come up in these things.

I’d love to perform at the Free Fringe again.

All the best

Posts: 5
Joined: September 2008

Postby bobslayer » 17 Sep 2008, 04:19

I dont think each group stumping up £50 each will amount to a stealth tax... not when you compare that to £2500 or so for a paid venue...
If people want to raise that out of a show then thats up to them - but I think that it should be a formal requirement - we have seen that when things are optional, as good as everyones intentions are, they often dont happen

I think it is necessary to have a pot of money to deal not only with Peter's costs - but also to reimberse people who have lost equipment...
And I strongly propose we allocate an amount for promotion

I believe that if this is put in place the benefits will be really felt by all and the Free Fringe can develop even further
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Joined: April 2008

Postby 99club » 17 Sep 2008, 21:26

I see your point - but it's a slippery slope. Once you break the principle of charging it'd probably go up each year. There's an almost infinite demand for resources.

And saying "this is the free fringe, it's a completely different way of doing things" is much cooler than saying "this is the cheap fringe, it's the old way of doing things only much more poorly-funded".
Posts: 13
Joined: August 2007

Postby bobslayer » 21 Sep 2008, 21:39

I just don;t see that anyone has proposed a viable alternative...

Fund raisers have been suggested
I think these have a place - however I see a few issues with running fund raisers.
- Many free fringers are not and do not want to be promoters
- Out of those that are promoters - many are already at capacity - or you are asking them to contribute from their income - (would anyone suggest that people who are accountants similarly offer a days salary?!)
- There is a danger that this will come down to a few people doing the work and it will not be fair

I think a compromise is to set a fund that is required.
Those that want to get involved with fund raisers do so
And those that don't or cannot to pay a fixed contribution
Yes as someone has pointed out - this may go up if costs go up...
But until we find a money tree in the garden then what else?

I am most interested in Peters opinion on this...
Posts: 8
Joined: April 2008


Postby matt.tiller » 25 Sep 2008, 21:35

Hi Bob

I agree with a lot of what you say, but this suggestion came out of a conversation I had with Peter - he doesn't want to set a fee, because he fears it's a slippery slope - and as James points out it's great that it is free and stays free - it's bad press if it's reported that actually people pay a fee, good press if people have done something to raise money.

I don't want to be a promoter, but I'd happily put on one gig - or do something to help the event run well and make sure Peter is not out of pocket.


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Joined: September 2008

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