17 November 2022

The first Wagga Fringe is set to 'give everyone a go' with a diverse line-up

| Chris Roe
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Wagga Fringe

The Wagga Fringe offers ‘a bit of everything’. Photo: Supplied.

The stages are set and Wagga’s first-ever fringe festival is ready to take over venues across the city from today (17 November) in a diverse celebration of “art for art’s sake”.

The edgy four-day arts festival includes music, comedy and cabaret and organiser Phil Aughey says he’s pleased that so many local performers have gotten in on the act.

“It’s one of the reasons why I’ve been setting up these bush fringes, to give the local artists a professional platform on which to perform,” he says.

“I’d say at least two-fifths of all the acts are from Wagga or the surrounds including some from the Conservatorium of Music.”

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Inspired by the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Phil launched his own brand of the event in Newcastle in 2016.

Wagga will be the second “bush” location after the success of the Dubbo Fringe over the past two years.

“The best thing about fringes is that there is a lot of variety so it caters for a lot of tastes and all the shows are very reasonably priced,” says Phil.

Along with Romano’s, Manhattan and Tilly’s, The Curious Rabbit is one of the host venues and owner Vickie Burkinshaw says it will be a new style of event for the city.

“Wagga’s kind of new to this sort of festival idea where you’ve got more than one performance and a series of things on at different venues over a series of days,” she says.

“We’ll see if people will embrace that broad festival feel and, say, ‘Right we’ll go to the Curious Rabbit on Thursday and then Romano’s on Friday and Tilly’s on Saturday’.

“I’m really intrigued to see how that goes and hope that people will support it.”

Like Phil, she’s pleased to see so much local representation.

“It’s great to have artists coming externally, but it’s also good to balance that with the local talent that we’ve got as well,” she says.

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As well as music performances, Vicky says they will be hosting ‘Camino Man’ Steve Wilson who mixes storytelling with a slideshow, and Stew Walker’s ‘Book of Snorin – Sleep Apnea the Musical’.

“I’m looking forward to having some slightly different sorts of things from what we’ve had in the past with a focus more on the comedy, so it will be interesting to see how that goes in our space.”

Phil hopes that the Riverina will get behind the inaugural event and help it to grow and celebrate the diverse talents of the region.

“It’s about giving everyone a go,” he says.

The Wagga Wagga Fringe runs from 17 to 20 November and you can find out more and book tickets here.

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