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FRINGE FEST is not a typical art event. Part block party, part art-installation, part beer garden, the event takes place on the Friday night preceding the RIVERJAM FESTIVAL, an all-day festival featuring family-friendly activities and music. FRINGE FEST is a collaboration between two downtown organizations, Engine and the Heart of Biddeford, a Main Street Maine organization. Collectively, Engine and the Heart of Biddeford work to revitalize our downtown community.

Participate as a performer in the 2019 Fringe Fest

Engine is seeking performers, musicians, artists, designers and other creative thinkers to submit a project or performance for 2019 FRINGE FEST. We require your project to be approved for appropriateness (no hate speech will be tolerated and keep things within reasonable taste).

Here are a few key things to keep in mind before submitting your project for FRINGE FEST. If you have additional questions, you can contact director@feedtheengine.org.

  1. Everyone is welcome. Artists and participants of any age or experience are welcome to be part of  FRINGE FEST.
  2. All art is participatory. All of the art at FRINGE FEST is participatory. We look for art that encourages people to play, dance, sing, create, engage, experiment, and explore their environment.
  3. We’re outdoors in a public space. FRINGE FEST takes place outdoors in a public space, so your project should be designed to withstand the weather and the public.
  4. Leave no trace. Your project can not leave any trace or mark on the public space, and artists must be prepared to completely remove and clean up after their project. 
  5. We’re all volunteer. FRINGE FEST is run by participating organizations and volunteers. Staff from these organization give their time as a gift to artists and participants.
  6. FRINGE FEST is a completely free event. There is no charge for artists or participants to be a part of the event.

Fringe Fest Art Fair Vendors

If you want to participate in the Fringe Fest Art Fair as a vendor, please sign up here:

What is a Fringe Fest?

According to the United States Association of Fringe Festivals:

  • Focused on the performing arts: At its core, Fringe gives a spotlight to theater, dance, puppetry, music, visual arts, and spoken word. Fringes don’t have a focus on one single discipline or genre, but are a performing-arts smörgåsbord
  • Uncensored: From family friendly to bawdy and burlesque, Fringes do not curate or constrain the material or content used in participating show.
  • Easy to participate in: Ticket prices are purposely low or free for audiences and production fees are low for artists. We strive to make the arts available to everyone. Show selection varies from festival to festival but is generally quite open to participation by the gamut of amateurs to professionals
  • Festivals: Fringes around the world vary. They last from just a few days to a few weeks and involve lots of people at multiple venues.
  • Original: Fringes feature a wide array of original material—sometimes by design, but usually because that’s what Fringes do naturally well.
  • Rapid-fire: Typically, tech is minimal and time is a factor at our festivals. Shows are often kept brief (Fringes most frequently have shows right around 60 minutes in length) and technical requirements kept simple (minor sets, streamlined cues, nothing elaborate)

It all started in 1947 in Edinburgh, Scotland, as an alternative festival that played concurrently with the Edinburgh International Festival. Though not invited to participate, groups of actors, musicians, and the like performed at various venues on the fringe of the EIF. In 1948, Robert Kemp, a local journalist, gave it the name Fringe: “Round the fringe of official Festival drama, there seems to be more private enterprise than before…” (Read more about Fringe history at Wikipedia.)

And so the Fringe as we know it was born. Fringe performing arts festivals can now be found all over the world, with dozens thriving in the United States today.

In the U.S., no one organization or individual owns, controls or regulates the name “Fringe”. There are no national rules for how each individual festivals operate; festival content, finances, and structure vary from city to city. Generally, all festivals are committed to an open forum of expression that minimizes the financial risks for both artists and audiences. Fringes work hard to keep production fees and ticket prices low so that more people can participate in our festivals.