Nelson Fringe Festival director Laura Irish and technician Nick Davidsen set up the NCMA for filming shows for the virtual festival. Photo: Gabriele de Bazin.

Fringe festival goes virtual


The Nelson Fringe Festival is going virtual after realising the difficulties of putting on a week-long event in Level 2.

The festival was originally meant to occur in May at NCMA, but Level 4 lockdown meant it was postponed.

The team then worked hard to get it back up and running for this month, but the latest increase in Alert Levels meant a hard call had to be made.

“This decision was not made lightly,” festival marketing manager Lisa Allan says.

“After setting up for a Level 2 Fringe experience … the team began to have doubts. Out of town artists had begun to cancel and others were expressing their anxiety. The festival vibe in a Level 2 environment was all but gone. We were advised that all of our public and artist special events needed to be cancelled. We couldn’t run a bar or do anything that would invite congregating. Issues with artists sharing a dressing room arose.”

Instead, over the next few days, the festival will be inviting its local shows to come to NCMA and have their work filmed in the already set-up theatre.

Non-local artists who have filmable shows can capture their work digitally, too.

“We will all do everything we can to create a fun, cheeky festival online, that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home,” Lisa says.

“We refuse to allow this pandemic to disconnect us or stop us from sharing art with one another.”

If you have a ticket or tickets to Fringe shows already, then you will be emailed a link to the festival where you can enjoy as many of its online Fringe shows as you can possibly take in.

“As you can understand, a lot of time and money has gone into this event and, as things stand, we find ourselves in a tricky situation financially.”

The festival hopes that ticket holders are happy to redirect your Fringe spend to this online event, but understands if you are not in a position to do this.

For a refund, ticket holders are advised to contact Eventfinda.

“Otherwise, hold tight Nelson Fringe lovers, we’re going into the unknown together and we’re doing it with courage and tenacity and a sense of play that has got to be good for us.”

The online festival will run from the August 21-25 and passes will be available through Eventfinda for anyone who doesn’t already hold a ticket, in the next few days.

“Thank you all. Your support means everything to us right now and we hope that you are all doing okay. Kia kaha, we can do this, together.”

Check out the Nelson Fringe Festival Facebook page, Eventfinda or for more info as it becomes available.