Shaftesbury Fringe will be returning bigger and better in 2019. The event has grown to become England’s third-largest open access performing arts festival. Only the Brighton and Manchester Fringe events host more performances.
Picking the Shaftesbury Fringe date isn’t straightforward though. Organisers have to avoid clashing with other fringe festivals, which the visiting artists might also wish to attend. Many 2019 performance events have only just announced their dates for next year.
After studying the calendar, the Shaftesbury Fringe committee has chosen a date for their fourth annual festival – the weekend of 5th, 6th and 7th July 2019. “It’s the weekend after Glastonbury and we’re pleased that Shaftesbury Fringe 2019 won’t clash with the Chalke Valley History Festival either,” said Fringe committee member Rob Neely.
“Our dates make sense because Gold Hill Fair is on Sunday 7th,” added Rob. The Fringe organisers were keen to continue sharing the weekend with the well-established Rotary fundraiser because the combination of the two events offers a fuller and more varied programme of entertainment for both locals and visitors.
Shaftesbury Fringe is becoming more important to the town’s independent and small businesses. Chairman of the Shaftesbury Chamber of Commerce, David Perry, has written to Fringe to express the Chamber’s thanks. In his letter David said that thousands of visitors discovered ‘our wonderful town’ because of Fringe and that thousands of locals loved the event.
Rob says some accommodation providers have already enquired about the 2019 Shaftesbury Fringe dates because their guests want to book to return for next year’s festival. “People staying at Fleur de Lys enjoyed Shaftesbury Fringe so much, they’ve booked to return to town next year,” said Rob.
A number of popular performers have already said they hope to return, including comedian Heidi Regan, winner of the BBC Comedy Newcomer award in 2017. Heidi played to a full house at the Grosvenor Arms during this summer’s Fringe. More acts will be announced after performer registration opens next year.
The performers will have more town centre shops and business to choose from when arranging a place to put on their shows. “We seem to have a queue of venues wanting to sign up,” said Co-chairman Sue Allatt.
With an increased number of performance spaces likely, Shaftesbury Fringe is introducing an easier way for fringe-goers to find out what is on and to navigate their way to the shows. “We’ll be launching a Shaftesbury Fringe app,” confirmed Sue.