Who pays for it? Who owns it?
Who runs the Fringe?
Bath Fringe Ltd is constituted as a co-operative, and has been running since 1992. It currently has a voluntary management committee of 12 people and two part-time not-very-well-paid workers, along with other volunteer help at festival time. The makeup of this committee has changed over time, though there are a couple of people who have been with us throughout. The Fringe also runs in loose association with Streats, a charity set up to promote high-quality national and international street theatre in Bath; and FAB – Fringe Arts Bath, the visual arts organisation which runs events during the Festival.
Where does the money come from?
The festival is dependent on the generous support of local businesses and other sponsors, including some quite substantial donations; without the generosity of these wonderful people you wouldn’t be reading this right now. Times are still hard, financially; we’re glad they’ve been able to stay with us this far, and we obviously hope they will continue.
In the early years of this organisation we were regularly supported by Bath Council (more recently B&NES) and we’ve had the occasional Arts Council or other Lottery-funded grant – including for some street work in 2019. We’re not a ‘Portfolio’ organisation, nor regularly or core funded, and in recent years have received nothing from B&NES Council – and everyone knows what all council finances are like at the moment. As an organisation, the Fringe has never been swimming in money, and right now we’re barely paddling. We are still projecting festivals for 2020 and beyond, though we can see no sight of the uncertainty ending. If you fancy talking to politicians and businesspeople about how much you enjoy events like ours, do feel free! It’s a good thing Fringes are resilient!
How can I help?
If you’re a local (or national) business who is looking for sponsorship opportunities in the area, we would really like to hear from you. From small art shows to huge glitzy venues we have a apace and a profile to suit your needs. In these difficult times, alternatives to our traditional sources of core funding are vital – whether it’s £500 or £50,000 every penny is really appreciated.
Meanwhile, in order to help address the challenges we face and the evolving arts scene, the Fringe has been going through a period of organisational development, and this is continuing. It’s actually been quite good! We are still aiming to beef up our management team a little further, and if you have what you believe to be relevant skills, then we’d love to talk to you about becoming a new Board Member or Trustee. We’re particularly looking for volunteers who are skilled and experienced in fundraising, marketing and business management. And who like lively, quirky and diverse arts festivals, of course.
How can I get involved?
If you’d like to know more about becoming involved with Bath Fringe Festival in any capacity, committee members are around at many of this year’s events, and can be identified by badges – please feel free to talk to them about any aspect of the Fringe, its structure and funding, and how you might be able to get involved.
Working for the Fringe means a front-row seat at some of the best art events in the UK, as well as knowing that you’re doing something that impacts on thousands of people across the south west every year. For the last 30-odd years we’ve been bringing a great range of alternative, challenging and downright entertaining happenings to Bath and the surrounding area, and with your help we’ll still be here in another 30. Roll on Fringe 2029!
We know it sounds like an obvious line, but we’re convinced it’s true, that’s why we’re all still here: This is YOUR Festival. If you think it should continue, change, get wider (wilder!) or concentrate on anything in particular, you can get involved voluntarily, financially or organisational and make it so. Or just let us know, by EMail or letter. A Fringe is and should be organised by the people who want to enjoy and otherwise participate in it: this can lead to some weaknesses in corporate structure and image, but also leads to great strengths.
There will inevitably always be more to say on these topics before, during and after the Festival. If you’re on our mailing list, or if you keep an eye on the Stop Press on the website here, you’ll hear all about it.