A big part of my job is marketing Kent, pitching the Kent lifestyle, finding people that want to catch a Kent groove. The question is: What exactly is the Kent groove? To answer that question, we first need to answer: If Kent wasn’t here, who would miss us? There’s hundreds of answers, but for the sake of discussion I’d offer that a lot of other places have great schools like we do, great neighborhoods, safe streets, good places to eat, blah, blah, blah, — but they don’t have our eclectic mix of quirky characters that keep the “free to be you and me” spirit alive in our funky little hometown. That’s right, they ain’t got our fringe and I think the fringe of the world would miss us. I’d argue it’s time to take advantage of our “fringy-ness” and follow the lead of 30 other cities who host Fringe Festivals in their cities.
Before you start packing your bags, understand that I’m not talking about the “lunatic” fringe here — but rather the “fringe” folks that like to live life outside the lines, that crave originality and refuse to compromise their creative impulses. People that believe only dead fish go with the flow.
With every city and it’s brother selling the same basic product, how can we separate from the pack? One of the things we’ve got working for us is the fact that we’re not a Karoke, off-the-shelf, pre-packaged ready to be served city. We come at you in technicolor and 3D. That’s the fringe sensibility that I’m talking about. I’ve had young students and long time residents tell me that their out of town friends will remark that they are so “Kent” — implying that Kent has a signature sense of style that is really “anti-styling.”
At a time when “who you are” beats “what you have” everytime, it’s time to lead with our strength. With that in mind, I had mentioned going after tatoo festivals last month but I found an even better fit with Fringe Festivals. I thought I was onto something new but it turns our cities have been holding Fringe Festivals for decades.
Edinburgh Scottland — the mother of all fringe — has celebrated the fringe with their Fringe Festival for 60 years. Last year it brought 2.5 million visitors and generated nearly $150 million for Edinburgh. There’s money in them’ thar’ fringe pockets.
The fringe I’m talking about is probably not as bad as the images you’re conjuring. I’m talking about artistic fringe — people that have a passion for originality and authenticity. People that use theater, arts, comedy, storytelling, you name it, to celebrate expression of ideas.
We’ve got a lot of the pieces already in place in Kent, maybe it’s time to pull them together to really make an impact. Follow the links to see what these festivals are all about — and then let me know what you think!
What is Boulder Fringe Festival?
A Celebration! The Boulder Fringe Festival is an annual 12-day un-juried arts event packed with live theatre, dance, circus art, media art, cinema, visual art, spoken word, puppetry, workshops and storytelling. The 2007 Boulder Fringe Festival will host over 70 artists, local and international that will present over 350 events in twelve days at venues throughout downtown Boulder.
Constantly Risking Absurdity, Baby!
A monthly performance salon.
Come out of your shell.
Third Thursday of every month.
The Laughing Goat, 1709 Pearl St., Boulder
A showcase for professional local artists, a networking hub, a great show
$1 – $6 (roll of the die) (artists performing that night get in free)
The Boulder International Fringe Festival, in the interest of strengthening Boulder?s creative community, promoting new work by local artists, and raising the local standard for artistic innovation, brings you C.R.A.B., a monthly event at The Laughing Goat coffeehouse, which showcases new works by writers, performers, comics, musicians, and other artists.
C.R.A.B. (which is an acronym for Constantly Risking Absurdity, Baby; from the poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti) to provides a much-needed forum for local artists to present new work, promote upcoming shows and events, and network in a context in which unique, high quality work is the order of the day.
Come experience this exciting variety-show/salon. Each act gets 5 minutes to perform. Following each act, the performer will have an opportunity to give a brief statement about their work, as well as advertise upcoming events, websites or available merchandise, as they see fit.
Edinburg Fringe Festival
There’s tons more, just google Fringe Festival for yourself.