The Nanaimo Fringe Festival is now over, and despite a $7000 speedbump, the event organizer says they saw a great year.
Tamara McCarthy, Associate Artistic Producer for the Fringe, says during the first night, their outdoor venue’s storage was broken into, and thousands of dollars of speakers and mics were taken.
“We started a GoFundMe and we had people really coming out and supporting us,” said McCarthy. “The community really came together to help us out. Our insurance, as we found out, does not cover equipment at venues. It covers only stuff in our office space.”
McCarthy says the GoFundMe was a success, and they were able to fundraise the full amount for new equipment.
They’ve also doubled ticket sales since last year.
“Part of it could be attributed to the pandemic, and also we had some more staff this year. Including a marketing coordinator who I think did a good job, and helped bring people out and got audiences to come on back down or discover the Fringe for the first time.”
In regards to the beer gardens, McCarthy hopes they can continue to bring people to the gardens next year as well.
“I don’t know that it really had too much increased visits, outside of the shows that were happening there. We got some good feedback from the person who is running that on what we will continue to do with it next year. I think the first weekend— Bluesfest had a really nice giant beer garden down at [Maffeo Sutton] park. It had little more visibility with a much bigger event. So I think the first weekend was a bit tricky with our garden happening then.”
McCarthy says its been interesting to run the Fringe coming off the pandemic, as lots of the staff has seen the Fringe expand from a online-only festival to a much bigger operation.