20 August 2009

Fringe Festival feels John Hargreaves' axe

| johnboy
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Here’s some video of just how much John Hargreaves liked the Fringe Festival in February:

Today he’s announced that he’s getting rid of it and giving $30,000 dollars to a rather surprised National Folk Festival to do something Fringey.

Now have a listen to just how surprised the Folk Festival’s Jared Wilkins was when asked about this on 666.

But for real excitement, wrap your ears around Jorian’s Gardner’s anger over the manner, timing, and nature of the announcement.

Also fear not. Beer And Meat On A Stick Day (BAMOASD) is pretty much going to be the sole survivor of the reductions to the multicultural festival.

UPDATE: The ABC brings word that a startled Jon Stanhope is trying to hose down the fire as he edges John Hargreaves away from it:

    Mr Stanhope has apologised to Mr Gardner for how the situation has been handled.

    But he denies taking over responsibility for the event is a veiled rebuke of Mr Hargreaves.

    “It’s just a reflection of the reality of the changing structure and the changing nature of the way in which the Fringe Festival would in the future be funded,” he said.

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Can’t the arts community foster the local talent. At least people attend sporting events. And I think you will find that the govt does fund the arts, they’ve just decided not to fund the fringe to the same level

Deadmandrinking12:12 pm 26 Aug 09

Free movie tickets, free Alice Cooper tickets, returns on tax spending…

What you’re all missing is that most Movies and Alice Coopers don’t come from Canberra. The fringe festival was about fostering local talent. Keeping it free meant more exposure.

The government funds sports, so it should fund the arts.

George is totally right. Can you really blame the politicians for not wanting to give funds to someone that would generate bad publicity and be a constant pain in the neck? Don’t despair…this debate was needed. The Fringe was not really a proper Fringe as those types of festivals normally pay their own way…this was like an amateur showcase paid with money destined for a multicultural celebration…one thing I don’t get is why is the minister for multicultural affairs giving money to an arts event? Who is advising him? I would have fired that person weeks ago….he or she is probably on a salary of 100K…I can think of better ways to use that money!

Canberra, you are killing yourself when you do things like this

Indeed. This city is pretty dead, and the Fringe and Multicultural Festivals were some of the only things that make this place even remotely lively. I heard awful things about Canberra before I came here from overseas, and lately I’ve been telling people that it’s not all bad here, there are some sparks of life.

There are few venues for creative arts in Canberra (thanks to the NCA and the Burley Griffin fan club). The Multicultural festival is being attacked with a knife as we speak. How much more likely is it that everybody who hasn’t already left will find themselves in Sydney and Melbourne?

Jorian has pissed too many people off, and it was inevitable that something like this would happen. Also agree that it needed to be separated from the Multicultural Festival. Still, we’re all suffering now.

I blame the bloody Greens too. They chose to stay on the cross benches, despite a mandate from the people, and now Hagreaves and Stanhope can get away with this shit.

Thanks Deye – as I see it though there is a lack of detail from a number of sources on all sorts of things, and that detail would be helpful to have – to put things in a better context. But having the stats – the good news stuff – that would help Mr Gardner’s cause – as well as the Territory’s – when it comes to parting with public monies.

multi-kulti said :

One of the major problems has always been that both the Fringe and the Multicultural Festival are administered through those well-known party animals, The ACT Dept. of Disability, Housing & Community Services – seriously! How can you expect them to run either a festival or a fringe? These are Arts festivals and should have been considered as such a long time ago, and administered by people who understand how events should be run. Now it’s probably too late.

What a sad loss for Canberra.

I agree keep government out of it altogether, including funding

The last two years a lot of the money raised during the night went to charity. The food stalls just outside the tent were also run by charities.

Actually, what DID happen to all the money the Fringe got? Who paid the bills, how much were they, where did the revenue for ticket sales go, how much were the artists paid, what was the Director’s fee. Important questions. One wonders if Mr Gardner doth protest too much?????

Jorian Gardner’s Facebook status is spruiking “an announcement / protest” this Thursday at 1pm in Civic Square.

The so called Multicultural Fringe, (There is nothing multicultural about it), does have an audience and it is a good thing that alternative artists get a chance to perform however the money to fund it should come out of the arts ministry coffers not out of the small multicultural pot. Once the money is provided, if it is public money, we must ensure that it does not go to support a money making enterprise like a bar put in a square to sell beer, lots of it. Who gets all that money? So far, the event has managed to alienate many people and tarnished the brand so I would find it hard for a private company to agree to give money to an event that generates so much negative publicity. Many people just don’t get it…Of course Canberra should have an arts festival and a fringe can be a part of that but leave the Multicultural to continue to do what it does best: bring vibrancy and colour to the city…we need a lot of that….if the arts program relates to the multicultural experience it should be welcome but if it doesn’t then it should go somewhere else…The Folks at The Folk Festival should think this gift through as it may become more of a headache..

In relation to OBDM:

sepi said :

… Is it someone’s job in ACT govt to find stuff that actually works and that people like, and to ruin it? EG – Tharwa Primary, Griffith Library, now the bus depot markets.

And now part of the arts scene.

Didn’t the Multicultural Festival itself actually get rolled into the Canberra Festival a few years ago (maybe quite a few years.)

Jorian may have revivified the Fringe Festival, but i don’t think he established it. Fringe ran in the late 1980s and the 1990s in Canberra, didn’t it?

The Minister’s most recent pathetic decision comes as no surprise. I’ts hard to know who’s been more incompetent – the Minister’s Dept. or Nic Manakis’ Office of Multicultural Affairs, which has overseen both the Fringe and the Multicultural Festival.

Despite the enormous amount of dedication put in by Jorian, former Multicultural head honcho Domenic Mico and the entire festival team (including quite a few volunteers), there’s always been constant interference from government and bureaucracy. Despite that, some wonderful events have taken place in past years – The Fringe, Latin Carnivale, the huge Food & Dance day, lunchtime concerts, myriad theatre events, club gigs, exhibitions, workshops etc. – and most of it for free!

Domenic and most of the core team left in disgust in 2008. Jorian hung in there.

And now, having gone half a million dollars overbudget(!) this year, the Minister and Manakis have reduced the Multicultural Festival down from two full weeks of events (just a few years ago), to the meagre 3-day weekend that it has become – basically just the Food/Dance Day now, with minimal involvement from either international or national performers.

One of the major problems has always been that both the Fringe and the Multicultural Festival are administered through those well-known party animals, The ACT Dept. of Disability, Housing & Community Services – seriously! How can you expect them to run either a festival or a fringe? These are Arts festivals and should have been considered as such a long time ago, and administered by people who understand how events should be run. Now it’s probably too late.

What a sad loss for Canberra.

Gungahlin Al4:18 pm 23 Aug 09

I think it’s all a bit bizarre. The multicultural festival is bleeding money , so Hargreaves cuts Fringe instead. He says it’s an odd fit with that festival (and it may well be) so he tried to jam it into the Folk Festival (just as odd a fit methinks). And he takes a free attendance event in summer and shunts it off into a high-ticket price autumn event. And then claims his hope is for it to develop into a strong free-standing event…

All smacks of trying to make it disappear to me.

As for the way he ambushed Jorian, one could well understand why the bloke who established Fringe in the first place is majorly cheesed off. Hargreaves angrily accused me of ambushing him in the media a couple of years ago (which I didn’t – he dug his own hole and jumped right in while the TV cameras were running) – but it seems ambushing is something he’s adept at…

It should be pointed out, too, the main-stage bit of the artistic component of the Multicultural fest (the international dance troupes, Greek drama performed in Greek, that sorta stuff) is usually reasonably heavily sponsered by the originating-country’s embassy. So it’s possible a lot of this stuff is cost neutral… Unfortunately, the fringe festival, was … well, not spectactularly related to the theme of multiculturalism.

It was a high-quality selection of the best of the local arts scene, with no particular regard at all to the covering brief of multiculturalism .. one might argue that was what was good about it, but still, it doesn’t actually do what it says on the tin.

Given that it wasn’t spectacularly multicultural, it’s a pretty easy target to be lopped off the side if the rest of the enterprise is having fiscal problems. If it’s a fringe, it isn’t core.

Frankly, Canberra’s vibrant and active arts scene deserves its own festival, not to be tacked onto the side of something else. And .. .well, hopefully some of the momentum and anger about this will get something moving. Whether Jorian Gardner is the man for the job… I have major doubts (I’ve walked away early both times I’ve gone to multicultural fest events, largely due to finding the physical organisation of events a bit disastrous – the location is lovely, simiarly the acts booked are great, but the actual execution of a flowing performance seriously lacked). But certainly, getting the cream of Canberra’s artists together in one place (music, theatre, stand-up, dance, etc) and engaging each other’s audience is a good thing to have.

Fully agree with TheObserver. No other sponsor would put up with the kind of behaviour discussed here from an event’s organiser. While Hargreaves’s behaviour may not have been ideal, what would have been achieved in discussions, other than a indignant Jorian.

If people want to go see it, pay for it themselves, or set up a fundraising arrangment. It seems that most of those here who seem to say the enjoy it, but won’t pay to go see it. Can we get a subsidy for cinema tickets too? I love the movies but can’t afford $17 for a ticket too often.

GB said :

Like Jorian, Mico’s reputation is a curious mix of admiration for events pulled off, vs alarm at the number of trampled bodies.

Indeed. During the TAU Theatre days in the 1980s Mico had the run of a publicly funded theatre, and he milked the opportunity, putting on his own very mediocre shows with no apparent regard for conflicts of interest. Unfortunately, the theatre burnt down along with all the records – presumably a coincidence that it was just before an audit was going to be conducted, which was particularly unfortunate as there were quite some murmurs about the management of the place.

From the point of view of someone who only just discovered the Fringe Festival, and now realises it was probably the last one that will ever happen, this feels like a tragedy.

The last one was held spectacularly during a summer heatwave in the centre of town. It had atmosphere and it felt like nothing I’d ever been to before.

The ACT Government doesn’t seem to be able to budget or plan and quite frankly this proves we should never have been given self-government. The place was much better money managed before we got our own set of “would-be if they could-be” mock politicians.

I wrote to Hargraves and received a very polite but “no joy” response about changing their minds regarding what they are doing with the Fringe. It may be they were considering cutting it completely and the modest funding is some kind of way to try and “keep people happy”.

If the Fringe is put into the Folk Festival with it’s steep entry fee I think definitely we will never see the event in full “glory” again. It certainly won’t have that centre of the city atmosphere I was lucky to witness.

What a crappy city this is sometimes…

Regardless of whether Jorian is the right person to run it, we’ve lost the Fringe as it was. Or more particularly, the tax money to fund it. Many will mourn, some will cheer. And its important to give the anarcho-capitalists something to cheer about occasionally, otherwise they’ll get sulky and want to privatise the health system.

A fringe event within the folk festival will satisfy none of the same goals (though it might be a bonus for people who are attending); and if they try to run an event outside the folk fest it will be inefficient and outside their charter. I agree with Theobserver that the folk fest is a great example of treating people well — but many have serious disagreements with them about their focus on quality (including well-paid overseas highlights) vs inclusiveness (paying local musos). I think its good that they don’t try to be everything.

The multicultural fest was a bad fit to fund a fringe primarily because it was not an arts festival, but a ‘cultural’ one; and thus was in Disability, Housing and Community Services; rather than Arts. Stanhope should give artsACT the money to disburse to someone who can do a fringe; instead of pissing it up the wall in a shotgun marriage with the folk festival.

And meat on a stick day should be preserved at all costs, of course.

BTW with a certain degree of irony I note that today it was reported that Dominic Mico thinks Hargreaves decision is great. Like Jorian, Mico’s reputation is a curious mix of admiration for events pulled off, vs alarm at the number of trampled bodies.

Nambucco Deliria3:16 pm 21 Aug 09

Jorian should’ve co-opted Chick Henry as a concultant. I believe he’s top notch at sourcing public funds and his previous attempts at bringing cullture to the Capital have always included a lot of burlesque.

Hadley – your comment says it all:

“He has never been even remotely easy to deal with, is constantly argumentative, insulting without even realising it and can treat his volunteers and performers like absolute dirt, but you only need to look at what he has facilitated with the Fringe Festival to see that it’s worth putting up with him for that”.

Sorry, but if Jorian is feeling put out, and that picture of him posing in the Crimes with a face like a dropped pie shows a lack of gruntlement – well Governments can give and they can take away, but you will find them more prepared to keep giving if you behave with a modicum of courtesy. Biting, or rather savaging the hand that feeds you is not sustainable. And this is particularly so when the Multicultural Fest is bleeding public money hand over fist. The ratepayers of the Territory deserve a better return on the tax take. Let him find a private sponsor – and see how long carrying on like the proverbial pork chop keeps the sponsor’s $ flowing in.

As for treating artists and volunteers like dirt – Hadley you could not be any wronger. No amount of apprehended success is an excuse for bullying – and treating perfomers and volunteers like dirt is exactly that. There is a conceit in the arts that bad behaviour is somehow excusable because someone is ‘artistic’. Total BS IMHO. Dig a little deeper and you will find that those that enjoy enduring respect within the arts are those that demonstrate empathy, humility and self insight, rather than rudeness, arrogance and self-obsession.

From what I know about the NFF this might be a good fit – and the performers and the volunteers would not get treated like dirt and nor would anyone have to put up with constant arguments and gratuitous rudeness. The Fringe may blossom as a result.

BTW for those of you that think the folkies get too much already, if you check the financials on http://www.folkfestival.asn.au (I did) you’ll find that the NFF gets less than $50k or so and probably gives more back to the Territory in license fees for EPIC and other fees like liquor licensing than it receives in funding. And that is not counting the injection into the ACT economy over Easter. Even if the folkie accepts an extra $30k a year this will probably still be the case – so who is subsidizing who?

sorry, what? we have a gov’t that is prepared to pay $400,000 for a single game of afl between two teams running worse than last and somewhere worse than that and wonder why no-one turned up in the cold and rain with the game on the teev, then try to spruik the goodness of its heart with a measly $30k to a successful festival, much loved from the above posts, and it is also hiving it off to a totally different audience who will be paying for the privilege of seeing its folk music.

ahh, bureaucracy, dontcha luv it!

Pommy bastard said :

However some of us, most in fact, can and do live without these festivals, and choose to do so. Why should we subsidise them?

{Warning: patronise mode ‘on’} Ah, but you do live with them, and benefit from them, in ways that your pretentiously anti-arts posing blinds you to. But even with your blather, the world is still a better place from their existence — and not just for people who go to them.{/patronise mode}

Sunbeam said :

…appropriately apportioning blame? if Jorian is to blame, then surely there are ways of “demoting” him without losing the whole fringe?

i think the real questions are about the ACT government having an unrealistic or misdirected understanding of what the national folk festival is or should be, if it thinks it is a good idea to redirect the fringe funds there.

after all, isn’t it a bit odd to have the same group direct both its own festival as well as the fringe alternative to it?

I have always had a deep seated need to blame someone. If still socially acceptable I have no doubt I would have my own lynch mob.

No questioning here of the Govt’s understanding of the Arts in general. The NFF isn’t a great choice, but I’m unsure if there’s any other major National Festival in Canberra to redirect funds around the fringe of…

In the interim I’ve sent Mr Stanhope an email outlining my concerns.

Thumper – yes, here’s some coverage of the taboo and contention between Jorian and Hargreaves earlier in the year:

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/coverup-call-burlesque-lays-bare-a-bawdy-brawl/1433742.aspx

Hargreaves is a tool. Why not divert some of the $400,000.00 the government is saving by not bringing AFL games to Canberra next year to save the Fringe

housebound said :

From the TV news, Jorian must still be in someone’s good books, because he got an apology from the Chief Minister for a lack of consultation.

Housebound I’d like to think it was an apology to Jorian himself but I don’t think so. I think Jorian was simply the vehicle for a Stanhopian reversal, and only because of the media and blog reaction. And I suspect there will be some strategising already in His Nibs’ office about whether there’s anything they don’t want the “luvvies” to notice that they can put out at the same time as, and masked by, some fresh spun announcement about the $30,000.

From the TV news, Jorian must still be in someone’s good books, because he got an apology from the Chief Minister for a lack of consultation.

…appropriately apportioning blame? if Jorian is to blame, then surely there are ways of “demoting” him without losing the whole fringe?

i think the real questions are about the ACT government having an unrealistic or misdirected understanding of what the national folk festival is or should be, if it thinks it is a good idea to redirect the fringe funds there.

after all, isn’t it a bit odd to have the same group direct both its own festival as well as the fringe alternative to it?

Jorian seems pretty clear that $30,000 would only have covered the venue (the tent). So that sounds like a cut.

I’m not sure whether the Fringe lost any money — they would be very hard pressed to contribute much to a half million dollar loss.

And I haven’t seen any signs of the Floriade losses being treated similarly.

Jorian is pretty good at pissing people off, but that’s no reason for trashing the fringe.

From memory Hargeaves had some misgivings about government money funding burlesque. Maybe someone got into his ear?

Either way, I think JBs comment is extremely pertinent.

Pommy bastard4:51 pm 20 Aug 09

GB said :

seekay said :

If there is a genuine demand for what is on offer at the Fringe, then it clearly will not need to take public money.

If there was a genuine demand for roads, bridges and footpaths they would clearly not need any public money.

Apples and oranges comparison.

If we all could choose whether to use roads, bridges and footpaths, or not, and our society could function without them, then you may have a point.

However some of us, most in fact, can and do live without these festivals, and choose to do so. Why should we subsidise them?

And if these entertainments are “free” then as Hadley would have us believe, then what is the problem? Go ahead and put them on.

Trouble is they are not “free” are they? Joe taxpayer subs them, so that those who enjoy this sort of stuff can enjoy them.

Care to subsidise me a ticket so I can go enjoy Alice Cooper, citizens of Canberra?

johnboy said :

I think more pertinent is to ask why if the government is continuing to fund artistic programs (which it is) are they cutting one that a lot of people actually like instead of the rest of their crap fests?

I just looked through the thread again.

As I understand its not cut. It’s been re-allocated. So the money’s there.

Which is like a demotion for an underperforming employee or alternatively the actions of a vindictive boss.

Which brings up the real questions:

Was it the perceived mismanagement by Jorian of the event;
Did Jorian simply piss off the wrong person; or
Is it a combination of both.

When this is adequately answered I can appropriately apportion some blame.

I find it hard to believe that The Fringe spent $950,000. Surely that figure is for the whole festival, not just The Fringe, otherwise that was some well paid burlesque dancers.

GB #39 The MULTICULTURAL FESTIVAL ran over budget.

I stand corrected – should have been more circumspect when using info read upside down from a paper on the rack while waiting for my lunchtime burger 🙂

I think more pertinent is to ask why if the government is continuing to fund artistic programs (which it is) are they cutting one that a lot of people actually like instead of the rest of their crap fests?

Wrong:

Snarky said :

According to the Crimes I glanced at at lunchtime the problem was that the Fringe ran about $450,000 over its existing $500,000 budget last year.

The MULTICULTURAL FESTIVAL ran over budget. I’m sure Jorian would love to have $450,000 to run with, over or not…

Oh and

Brandi said :

Don’t the Folkies get enough handouts? F***sake, talk about looking after your mates at the club.

Hi, I’d like my handout. Can you point me to where the free money for canberra folkies is — I can’t sem to find the queue.

Or is this just a scam like that ‘free money from the commies for protestors’.

And:

seekay said :

If there is a genuine demand for what is on offer at the Fringe, then it clearly will not need to take public money.

If there was a genuine demand for roads, bridges and footpaths they would clearly not need any public money.

Seekay — while the Fringe ran ticketed events (the most expensive of which was $15 a ticket I think, for about a hundred seater theatre for a 3 night run, that’s not going to pay anyone a decent wage) the vast majority of Fringe events were FREE.

There is a genuine demand for what’s on offer, as well as a commitment to providing people with free entertainment.

I’m sorry if this does not fit in with your understanding of demand for arts.

If there is a genuine demand for what is on offer at the Fringe, then it clearly will not need to take public money.

+1 Hadley. It’s yet another unbelievable decision from the Stanhope(less) government.

The Fringe Festival is the only free major public event that demonstrates Canberra’s ‘interesting’ side: artistic, alternative, risque, creative, compelling! Dropping it into the NFF mix and it’s lost. All Canberrans should be free to experience the Fringe, not just those attending the NFF with a spare $85 plus just to get through the door. A stand alone Fringe Fest would be great, but probably wouldn’t get the ‘exposure’ it does from being next door to the Multicultural Festival. Put the $$$ into creating a unique Fringe Festival by and for Canberrans. The loss of cultural festivals creates the exact atmosphere we’re constantly derived for … a place full of boring uncreative pubes.

According to the Crimes I glanced at at lunchtime the problem was that the Fringe ran about $450,000 over its existing $500,000 budget last year.

“To my eye, these festivals are only labour pandering to the left wing hippy-dippy brigade at best, and not “festivals” with meaning and impact as seen elsewhere”

How would you know, seeing as you have not been.

“I’ve never seen an act advertised for either the multicultural or folk festivals who I’d travel all the way into Civic to see”

FFS.

Another fine example of some idiot taking something that works and breaking it.

The Fringe is a great part of the Multicultural Festival.

Now I am expected to pay some ridiculous amount of money to see it out at Epic. Ridiculous.

Well done Hargreaves, three cheers for stuffing up yet another thing in Canberra.

Pommy bastard said :

To my eye, these festivals are only labour pandering to the left wing hippy-dippy brigade at best, and not “festivals” with meaning and impact as seen elsewhere..

Comedy!

I don’t understand — they are rolling a 10 day festival into a 4 day festival, turning 14 days of arts, music, theatre, dance, etc. into 4 days… that we already had?

I have worked as a performer, volunteer, writer etc at every single Fringe since they began in 2004, and doing away with the Fringe is a great way to cut opportunities performance and networking opportunities for Canberra fringe artists (read: all Canberra artists) and once again hide the profile of Canberra artists from the rest of Canberra at Australia.

The idea that is is politic and a problem with Jorian turns out to be true, that would be extremely sad. He has never been even remotely easy to deal with, is constantly argumentative, insulting without even realising it and can treat his volunteers and performers like absolute dirt, but you only need to look at what he has facilitated with the Fringe Festival to see that it’s worth putting up with him for that.

It is so frustrating to work so hard to work to create high quality artistic products, and have avenues to present them snatched away from you.

I also love The Folk Festival and perform there as well, and I have no idea where or how they would do anything remotely like the Fringe Festival.

Canberra, you are killing yourself when you do things like this.

Deadmandrinking said :

STOP…PAYING…CRAPPY…’ARTISTS’…TO MAKE…BA-AD…SCULPTURES…THAT MAKE NOOOO SENSE!

How much did the what I can only see as some random bits of metal shoved in the ground near the Gunghalin Drive Extension cost?

Word is the twisted metal is a “representation” of the grasslands that surround Canberra. Cost $750,000

Big festivals like the ones you mentioned don’t just pop up over night. They start of small and year by year grow bigger and attract more attention and well renown acts.

The really dissapointing part is that the fringe has progressed so much in the last few years and was really beginning to gain respect and recognition out side of Canberra as a great festival like the Melbourne and Adelaide fringe have for years. The first time i went to the fringe it was a tiny festival run near the street theater with one stage and mostly local acts every night, still very enjoyable but not a scratch on what it encompasses today.

We can’t just expect a festival to explode out of nothingness and be the next Glastonbury but with some support from the government and patience from the public the fringe could have gone on to be something that really put Canberra on the map.

Sorry that you’re not actively looking for events to attend in this city but the Fringe has been well advertised in the past… even articles on the Riot all about it! But maybe not on the commercial television networks though, where most Canberrans seem to get their “news”.

How is this not useful PB? Festivals give the community a sense of togetherness… something that Canberra SORELY needs.

I wonder why if Jorian Gardner’s efforts at the Fringe Festival are not recognised by the the Stanhope Government as worthy of support, just over a month ago, Stanhope appointed Robyn Archer as the Creative Director of the Canberra Centenary 2013.

The Fringe Festival was very much in the spirit of Robyn Archer’s approach to performance. I think she would have embraced the Fringe Festival. The performances Gardiner put on were very much the sort of things Archer has done in her own performances.

So, what does Stanhope expect Archer to create for the Centenary? Does he expect her to book the sort of lame retro cover bands that are booked for New Years Eve in Canberra? Perhaps that’s what people in Canberra want and like. But it’s not the Robyn Archer I have seen.

There could be a rocky road ahead for Archer as Creative Director of the Canberra Centenary 2013.

Perhaps, rather than wasting the time of a talented artist, Stanhope should take a look at Archer’s work and let her know he has made a mistake. Perhaps Archer will realise this herself.

But then, we may not be dealing with the decisions of a Stanhope Government. Instead, it looks like the random decisions of a bunch of loose canons while Stanhope doesn’t have the numbers to impose any authority.

Perhaps all the more reason for talented artists like Archer and Gardiner to look for a government that will respect and value their work.

The cat did it12:09 pm 20 Aug 09

Suggestion is that last year’s Multicultural Festival went almost $0.5 million over budget, and Hargreaves had to ensure it couldn’t happen again. I wonder who was applying the pressure- the Chief Minister, or the ACT Finance Dept?

barking toad11:19 am 20 Aug 09

If these festivals are so fantastic with so much support why should they be funded from the public purse?

If the demand for their performance is so great then I’m sure those that want to attend will be happy to pay. 🙂

Burlesque folk?

I don’t think so.

How much was spent on a “massive carbon footprint” indulgent glass sculpture for the Glassworks – did that go ahead? Wasn’t that some $150,000? I’d rather five fringe festivals than a couple of million “black balloons” worth of glass melt carbon emissions perched on the Kingston Foreshore …

Pommy bastard10:16 am 20 Aug 09

Fair point Gus29, though my point was rather that these festivals are rather parochial, to say the least.

I’ve never seen an act advertised for either the multicultural or folk festivals who I’d travel all the way into Civic to see, let alone pay to watch. (I didn’t even know that the Fringe existed.)

To my eye, these festivals are only labour pandering to the left wing hippy-dippy brigade at best, and not “festivals” with meaning and impact as seen elsewhere..

Maybe the govt should pull funding out of all the festivals and use it for something useful instead?

Gungahlin Al10:07 am 20 Aug 09

Mr Stanhope was interesting to listen to on 666 this – didn’t sound too happy with the minister’s handling of communications…

Multicultural-Fringe was an awkward mashup, but Fringe-Folk seems an unholy union of opposites.

Maybe we could hold the Fringe as a seperate event?

Ridiculous.

Just what do “Fringe” and “Folk” have in common? I can’t imagine many of the Fringe acts from last year fitting well into the Folk Festival community.

What a damn shame, and we wonder why arty types keep leaving the capital in droves?

Deadmandrinking9:29 am 20 Aug 09

jackal said :

Went this year to the Fringe for the first time, it was great, and in the centre of town so it was easy to get to. Definitely not trekking out to EPIC and shelling out $85+ for a NFF ticket (as good as I hear it is – for that sort of cash I can almost get a Big Day Out ticket) to see the Fringe.

Hear hear. It might have been worth saving up for a ticket when I was younger, but nowadays, I can’t see the point. If the labour government wants to cut down on it’s arts spending, then….

STOP…PAYING…CRAPPY…’ARTISTS’…TO MAKE…BA-AD…SCULPTURES…THAT MAKE NOOOO SENSE!

How much did the what I can only see as some random bits of metal shoved in the ground near the Gunghalin Drive Extension cost?

Yet, the fringe festival has an immediate audience and appreciation of it by them, instead of people wondering whether there’s been some sort of accident ahead of them.

Wanted to add my disappointment at this decision.

Stripping the fringe festival, and rolling the remnants into the folk festival, is an insult to the patrons of both festivals.

Fringe Festival is one of the only times when I feel like Civic gains any character at all.

@PB: I’m not sure “isn’t Glastonbury” is a good reason to abandon a festival. Tickets to the UK are kinda expensive.

I think Pelican Lili answered my question before I asked it: this is the same Jorian Gardner who writes for City News? Interesting; I didn’t know of his mixed skills between journalism and writing articles that humiliate a minister (Jorian sat “slack jawed” through the post-luncheon interview) and then gets dealt the blow against him and his role of directing a public event.

In case you missed it:
http://www.citynews.com.au/index.php/content/article/john_says_amandas_a_goner/

Says it all really, that they didn’t speak to him up front. Another EPIC style shut-out. Take away his funding a little festival and maybe he’ll move on elsewhere and stop writing nasty pieces on the side.

Very disappointing.

I’m not sure any animosity is required to be directed towards another arts event as a result. Only at a government that would do such a thing and blinker our local focus.

Bugger, the last Fringe was a lot of fun.

Don’t the Folkies get enough handouts? F***sake, talk about looking after your mates at the club.

It doesn’t seem to me that these sorts of decisions should be made at the whim of the Minister.

I think these sorts of decisions should be distanced from the Minister in some way, perhaps with some sort of advisory body of community representatives and people with recognised artistic talent.

Do other festivals have their programs decided by the Minister of the day (e.g. Adelaide and Perth Festivals)?

I think the role of a Minister should be to ensure that there are open opportunities and venues for artists to develop and express their artistic talents.

I don’t think that it is appropriate for a Minister to inflict his own ill cultured judgments on the ACT community.

As I recall, John Hargreaves “artistic” contribution to last year’s Fringe Festival was his performance of an ambling drunken stagger in the direction of the back of the stage.

This may have been a performance and an attempt at humour, but I thought it was embarrassing and degrading.

the national folk festival fringe????

what? that’s where the middle aged bureaucrats wear crushed velvet capes with fringes on them???

i find this unbelievably LAME and ANNOYING.

does this mean the NFF get MORE money and MORE excuses to NOT support local artisits???

grrrrrrrrrrrr… sunbeam is angry.

Mike Crowther10:00 pm 19 Aug 09

Labor = friend of the arts. Ha!

Went this year to the Fringe for the first time, it was great, and in the centre of town so it was easy to get to. Definitely not trekking out to EPIC and shelling out $85+ for a NFF ticket (as good as I hear it is – for that sort of cash I can almost get a Big Day Out ticket) to see the Fringe.

Th Fringe didn’t fit well with the multicultural festival — but so what? It had some interesting stuff, some unusual great art, and a useful degree of shambolic inappropriateness.

The folk festival is fabulous, and I’m sure they’ll find a great way to use $30,000; but it will be no replacement for the local focus and broad fringeness that Jorian pulled together (or didn’t, on occasion).

But maybe its part of the oppositional nature of fringes that they shouldn’t get sensible support from the gubmint, and should generally get stuffed around for no good reason.

Pommy bastard9:45 pm 19 Aug 09

I have to say I’ve never even noticed we had a “fringe festival”. Mind you the “multicultural festival” isn’t exactly up there with Glastonbury or WOMAD is it?

It is laughable to think that a modest injection of funds into the NFF budget can make up for the loss of the week-long Multicultural Fringe Festival in Civic Square. Who is kidding who? As well as being a highlight for audiences of all ages, the Fringe has become a testing ground for local work that travels to Adelaide and other Festivals around Australia and the world. The National Folk Festival – wonderful as it is – marks the end of the annual festival calender. It simply cannot fulfil the same purpose, for audiences or artists, that the Multicultural Fringe has fulfilled since 2004.

I loved the Fringe.

Ms Thumper and myself thought it was brilliant, just what canberra needed. It was simply fabulous. Something out of the box, not quite mainstreaqm, maybe a tad shocking, but always, always, fun…

Hargreaves hang your head you uncultured and boring noob. I guess you just don’t like burlesque, oh, and people having a good time…

georgesgenitals8:33 pm 19 Aug 09

I always thought the Fringe Festival was for people with messed up hair.

This is ridiculous, the Fringe Festival fitted perfectly with the Multicultural Festival. Seems like the ACT Government doesn’t realise what a good thing it was for the city.

Also sounds like the ACT government wants to kill the event off for some reason. Maybe people should write in to the minister and try to get him to reverse the decision. http://www.chiefminister.act.gov.au/media.php?v=8338

Pelican Lini7:54 pm 19 Aug 09

Hmmm,
This decision wouldn’t have anything to do with Jorian’s recent post luncheon interview with the Minister, would it?
Shurely not (hic)

+1 On the surface this sounds like cutting off your nose to spite the face.

How is moving these artists to within a festival that charges to enter the venue, and held at a time when many Canberrans are away going to expose these artists to a wider audience?

What a stupid decision. The Fringe Festival is one of the best bits of the National Multicultural Festival.

As for this quote

“The community has expressed a strong desire that the focus of future National Multicultural Festivals should remain squarely on celebrating Canberra’s rich cultural diversity through a showcase of ethnic traditions by our multicultural community groups, diplomatic missions and international students,” said Mr Hargreaves.

What is the Fringe but an expression of cultural diversity ?

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