There’s no doubt the Fringe would be improved by the collapse of the Festival Fringe Society. Sure, some small replacement organization would be useful, almost necessary. But the current arrogant monolith needs to be extincted for the good of all. Benefiting the Fringe is, if I’m not wrong, the society’s mission. They would best fulfill their mission by committing hara kiri, post haste.
The Fringe Society is an arm, not of the Fringe, really, but, in spirit, of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce. It promotes bigness, which, beyond a certain point, benefits the City of Edinburgh, not the artists.”Largest Arts Festival in the World” is an allure, to be sure. It summons the image of a city swirling with activity and calls out to all to enjoy the swirl. As swirl. The individual components of that swirl are, of course, irrelevant.
All the symposia and “meet the supposed power brokers” gatherings are but a dance of fraudulence, creating the illusion that the Society exists for artists, an illusion with which the Society, I suspect, even fools itself. In truth, their Fringe, the Fringe of size rather than content, is a con, a fool’s game. For participants.
Putting on a show at the Edinburgh Fringe is like getting into the hopper that selects lotto numbers and punching the rising balls until, maybe, the desired numbers come up. There’s a festival of quality and content amidst the swirl and that relatively small, naturally selected festival within the festival provides entertainment and enlightenment for those who punt. Everybody else is a dress extra, doing shows, promoting efforts, solely, when you get right down to it, to create an ambient city of activity, not to be something anyone in particular is going to notice or care about.
Most of us are inside the hopper, punching at balls.