If you’re not planning to attend Montreal’s St-Ambroise Fringe Festival this summer, then you’re making a huge mistake.
With ticket prices as low as $12 or less, shows that cater to a wide range of tastes, easy to access venues, and performers from across the globe, this is a Montreal festival you’d be well advised not to miss.
“Fringe is a place where you can see absolutely anything. It’s accessible to everybody,” said festival artist liaison, Victoria Laberge. Fringe shows are selected by a lottery system, she explained, which means absolutely anybody can have their show chosen to be in the festival.
“It’s fun because you get to see such a huge variety of comedy or drama or music. I think it’s pretty representative of the multiculturalism of this city in that people from all over the world come perform here,” said Laberge.
But there are over 700 performances, so how do you decide? Well, therein lies the difficulty. Fortunately, there are several ways to pick and choose your shows. Attendees with specific wants in mind can search by performance type on the Fringe Festival website or pick up a copy of the show guide, available on newsstands throughout the city.
For a live overview of the shows offered and a good time to boot, check out the Fringe Festival’s Fringe For All, which kicks off the festival with each company getting two minutes of stage time to promote their show. Also consider The 13th Hour, which is a live talk show/dance party which will take place at the end of each festival day. It features performers from many of the shows and offers the chance to catch up on the events of the day and see more show previews.
If you still can’t make up your mind, maybe the Fringe Festival’s audience review system, ‘Buzz on the Beer Tent wall’ or ‘Netbuzz’, can entice you with its reviews straight from the auditorium. You can find out which shows are sizzling and which shows are shorting out by reading reviews submitted by audience members online or on the wall of the Festival’s beer tent.
There are three different components to the Fringe Festival; ‘Fringe after Dark’ which includes all nighttime events, ‘Fringe in the Park’ where all the events are free and feature performances for the whole family, and ‘Fringe A-Z‘ which is all shows playing throughout the month and can be found online and in the festival guide.
You can also become involved in the wheels of the festival by volunteering. Fringe prides itself on providing 100% of ticket sale revenue to its artists, which means they operate largely on volunteer power. Volunteering is a great way to meet the people involved with the shows and earn Fringe Bucks, which allow you to see shows for free.
The St-Ambroise Fringe Festival, runs from June 4 to June 24. For more information, visit their website at www.montrealfringe.ca or call 514-849-FEST.