Fringe festival is open for registration

SHAFTESBURY Fringe Festival 2020 is open for registration, with a repeat of last year’s early booking discount for performers. For this year’s event, from 3rd to 5th July, the organisers hope to transform the High Street into a public performance and visual art space.

Co-chairman Rob Neely is urging members of Shaftesbury’s artistic community to help decorate the town during Fringe 2020 by showing their work and creating pop-up pieces. He says: “Art doesn’t have to be in the gallery. It could be in the street. It could be anywhere. It would be nice to have something a little more unusual, more fringe-orientated.”

Rob promises that the Fringe team will work on the logistics of displaying outdoor pieces if artists respond positively, so his message to artists is: “Get cracking. Art should be out there for people to see and I think it’s a blank sheet, really.”

His fellow co-chairman James Thrift believes that art in public spaces will make the event more prominent. “When you come into the town, you suddenly realise there are 30 or more venues and at any one time there can be 30 or more shows. But if you stand in the High Street, people wonder whether it is actually going on because it takes place behind closed doors. It would be fantastic if we could utilise that space, whether that is music, performance art or visual art.”

If you want to take part or you know someone who might be interested, you can reserve your place on the Fringe website. Last year, organisers introduced a discount for performers who register early. That fee reduction for each show is being offered once again. “They have a month to register – the whole of January – at the early-bird fee of £15 per show. After that it’s £25,” says Rob.

All the money raised from registration gets ploughed back into the festival. Much of it is used to promote and market the Fringe weekend and to encourage people to visit the town. It works – the turnover of some businesses can be boosted by thousands of pounds over the weekend.

To book your show, visit

Pictured: Shaftesbury Fringe co-chairmen James Thrift and Rob Neeley.