Sólveig Eva drawing a mural during the Fringe Opening Party. Photo by Sveinlaug Sigurðardóttir. 

Sólveig Eva drawing a mural during the Fringe Opening Party. Photo by Sveinlaug Sigurðardóttir. 

Creating art can be terribly expensive, both in terms of time donated, space and materials. Collaborative art forms such as theatre require continuous support networks of in-kind contributors alongside their fundraising and marketing efforts. 

Festivals bring a plethora of artists together from all over the world to provide diversity where it is needed, give free and affordable art to a community, create shared experiences, address political turmoil, refuel creativity and create acceptance and a sense of belonging. 

There are no strangers at Fringe. Everyone is part of a family. People come from all over but you stand in a line at Fringe and within two minutes people ask you what play you have seen, what shows you have liked, what are you going to see next, and how long have you been Fringing?
— Chuck McEwan, producer of Winnipeg Theatre Fringe Festival (KPBS Public Broadcasting)

Participants are strengthened through attracting their diverse audience groups together to one united platform, allowing artists to test their material with a wider range of spectators and giving their spectators a wider range of new experiences. This is aided by the fringe guidelines to keep ticket prices low, minimising the sense of risk and high stakes standard ticket prices so often instil in the buyer. Participating venues receive increased traffic while performers receive a stage. Fringes rely on grants to ensure that artists receive their revenue, and are therefore also an earning as well as marketing opportunity for artists. 

Fringes create a marketing and network opportunity for like-minded artists across disciplines. While local art circuits can be difficult for newcomers to penetrate, fringe performances tend to be chosen through a lottery, or a first-come-first-serve basis. It is a centre of creativity allowing for inspiration and encouragement, it’s a push forward in creativity and passion. And different from commercial entertainment, fringes do not censor. 

I like to think of the Fringe as a mixing together of art forms on all levels or a party full of art. It’s an adventure for the audience members.
— Nanna Gunnarsdóttir, Reykjavík Fringe Festival Director (Reykjavík Grapevine)

In addition to stimulating the economy with increased traffic to a range of events, workshops, gallery exhibitions, concerts, lectures, theatre, circus, burlesque, drag shows, stand ups, poetry slams, improvisations and happenings, storytelling is an essential part of human nature. It's an instinct that provides entertainment, guidance, tolerance, empathy, community. Storytelling is an instinctual companionship.

We want to thank Nanna Gunnarsdóttir and everyone who gave their time and energy to make the first Reykjavík Fringe a reality. We sincerely hope that Reykjavik Fringe Festival will receive the support they need to become an annual event.  

Reykjavík Fringe Festival takes place in venues around Reykjavík from the 4th-8th July. 

- Sólveig Eva