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Fringe Festival feels John Hargreaves’ axe

johnboy 20 August 2009 76

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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76 Responses to Fringe Festival feels John Hargreaves’ axe
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johnboy johnboy 4:24 pm 20 Aug 09

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?

GB GB 4:00 pm 20 Aug 09

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.

Hadley Hadley 3:19 pm 20 Aug 09

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.

seekay seekay 3:00 pm 20 Aug 09

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

Buzz2600 Buzz2600 2:44 pm 20 Aug 09

+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.

Snarky Snarky 2:28 pm 20 Aug 09

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.

phototext phototext 1:44 pm 20 Aug 09

“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”

phototext phototext 1:41 pm 20 Aug 09

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.

Hadley Hadley 1:25 pm 20 Aug 09

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.

daddy daddy 12:45 pm 20 Aug 09

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

blueberry blueberry 12:36 pm 20 Aug 09

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.

Dante Dante 12:27 pm 20 Aug 09

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.

RayP RayP 12:26 pm 20 Aug 09

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 it The cat did it 12:09 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 toad barking toad 11:19 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. 🙂

Thumper Thumper 10:39 am 20 Aug 09

Burlesque folk?

I don’t think so.

I-filed I-filed 10:34 am 20 Aug 09

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 bastard Pommy bastard 10:16 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 Al Gungahlin Al 10:07 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…

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 10:03 am 20 Aug 09

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?

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