The Buxton Festival's artistic director, Malcolm Fraser, expresses an interest in seeing a Fringe develop with a parallel programme to that of the main festival. This is to ensure that visitors have ample choice of entertainment at all times of the day and whatever the weather during the period of the Festival. After an informal meeting on April 13th 1980, a Fringe committee is formed to liaise with participating groups, but not to select or censor performances. Artist Alan Bailey is our first committee chairperson with Sheila Barker a very active Secretary. The Fringe is to be run as a charity staffed by volunteers.
Local celebrity Tim Brooke-Taylor writes to the Fringe in support of the idea.
The first Fringe takes place in July with 28 music entries, 6 dance entries, 5 drama entries and 17 miscellaneous (everything from exhibitions to flower festivals and clay pigeon shooting at Harpur Hill).
The second Fringe includes a summer ball, Morris Dancing, Punch and Judy, wrestling in the Pavilion Gardens and a Georgian costumed street market.
The Gandey Bros Circus arrives in town for the Fringe plus Indian Classical Dance and a two-day folk festival.
The Fringe announces that it is double the size of the year before with some 250 performances put on by about sixty groups.
The Fringe programme has a dramatically different cover. Events include The Crescent -200 Years, a talk celebrating the building's history.
Johnny Dagger makes his first appearance on the Fringe with his slides and music in Kingsterndale. He will become a Fringe institution showing up every year except 2004, in which he has temporary venue problems.
Sketch group Edward the Deckchair arrive in Buxton. They become firm favourites coming back every year until 1990. Comedian Vladimir McTavish makes his debut on the Fringe. He is to reappear in a different guise as football manager Bob Doolally in 2001.
Another Fringe institution, Jennie Ainsworth, begins her Vera Brittain guided walks, still going strong today.
The Fringe amends its constitution.
The Fringe celebrates its 10th anniversary with an exciting programme of over 100 arts events including a Ritual Dance Weekend (an innovation that will carry on until 1997), Swamp Circus and cutting edge comedians Miles and Millner, Alan Parker and the notorious bad taste comedian Jerry Sadowitz (then Gerry Sadowitz), who plastered the town with pink posters warning of his arrival.
The Fringe Information Desk boasts a telephone for the first time.
The Big Fun Marquee Tour makes a splash with its circus skills workshop.
Fringe Sunday is introduced as a way to publicise Fringe events. Peter Low becomes chairperson of the Fringe Committee, taking over from Adrian Malbon.
The Fringe's fame spreads worldwide. Among the international attractions are the Soweto Paradise Artists from South Africa and Victor Sobchak's Russian Modern Theatre
The programme begins to use a map format. Fringe readings are introduced, read by committee members. They have kept going over the years. The international flavour continues with Grupo Los Angeles playing folk songs of the Andes. Fringe Awards for outstanding performers are introduced.
A Fringe Film Festival is introduced on the theme of 'growing up'. The concept of Fringe Beer, whereby a percentage of the proceeds on a pint go to the Fringe, goes down very well indeed!
The Fringe Programme enjoys another major redesign.
The REC Theatre arrives on the scene. They will become a firm fixture on the Fringe's drama scene. There is another Film Festival on the theme of Films and Phones.
A Film Festival takes the theme of Film and Poetry
The Bright Ideas children's art project is introduced. The Buxton Festival Fringe's Schools Art Project for the design of the Fringe programme involves seven schools in and around Buxton. Artist and Fringe member Caroline Chouler goes into the schools to help the children express their ideas artistically. Over 140 children take part and all the finished artwork is displayed in a Buxton Museum exhibition.
This year's Film Festival is on the theme of Alice in Wonderland.
An enticing programme includes Poole's Cavern candlelit tours and a night of stand-up comedy entitled Best of the Buzz. The Fringe programme suggests that this might be the start of a new comedy club in Buxton - it is!
The Fringe comes of age with a packed 21st birthday programme featuring now established comic Ross Noble as part of a comedy festival; Derby Magic Circle offering incredible close-up magic and a remarkable light installation on the Crescent from artist Andrew Robinson. The colourful Millennium project Massive Elephant by Funny Wonders (a huge elephant decorated with Millennium 'wish' ribbons) takes to the streets as part of the Fringe.
An exciting programme features a Jazz Festival parade and a spoof exhibition from one Johan Foops-Grotlier.
OB Design comes up with a bright orange, new-look programme. We are able to afford this thanks to generous sponsorship from the Old Hall Hotel in Buxton.
Nick Butterley becomes the Fringe's first paid employee as full-time Information Desk Manager during the two weeks of the Fringe.For the first time we publicise our new website, www.buxtonfringe.com, which will become a major marketing tool.
The Fringe celebrates a valuable new connection with the University of Derby College, Buxton, who become one of our major sponsors.
The Fringe celebrates its 25th anniversary with Fringe Saturday, a float at the Carnival, a new Friends scheme, a Fringe club at Project X and a special exhibition in Buxton's Old Clubhouse on the history of the Fringe
At November's AGM, Peter Low retires as chair after 15 years of diligent service. John Wilson, vice chair for many years, takes over.
The website receives a facelift offering photographs, a new discussion board and more comprehensive reviews. It is renamed www.buxtonfringe.org.uk to reflect the Fringe's charitable status. Fringe Saturday becomes Fringe Sunday and the Carnival goes eco-friendly with a Shetland pony instead of a float!
A new managed venue, Underground Venues at the Old Hall Hotel is launched. Fringe Sunday continues to grow with 8 performances this year. The Fringe has a new Carnival float, courtesy of Lomas Distribution. High Peak Borough Council withdraws funding after 20 years but Derbyshire County Council come to the rescue with a one-off grant of £1000, Trevor Osborne of the Crescent Spa Hotel project gives us £2000 and Friends come flocking with 79 Friends having signed up by June.
New to the Fringe committee, French designer Armelle Perrin comes up with a brand new programme design hailed as clearer and more colourful than ever. Carnival float, courtesy of Lomas, continues and Fringe Sunday is best yet with lively acts including the crowd-pulling Belly Dance Flames. High Peak Borough Council returns as a sponsor with a reduced but very welcome three-year package. More than 100 Friends help contribute to Fringe funds. Website increases in importance with new discussion board and Fringe entrants entering online for the first time. The Fringe becomes a member of the British Arts Festivals Association and co-hosts BAFA's annual October conference this year held in Buxton.
Fringe is largest to date with 126 entries. An extensive audience and entrants' survey is carried out revealing that 86 per cent of the audience rate Fringe very good or excellent. Fringe is estimated to bring in more than £300,000 to local economy. 2009 30th anniversary celebrations start early with Fringe30 gala show at Buxton Opera House on November 7 featuring past award-winners including visual arts exhibitors. At the Fringe AGM on November 18 John Wilson stood down as Fringe chair to be succeeded by former vice-chair Stephanie Billen - the first female to take up the role.
The Fringe celebrates its 30th anniversary with a whopping 141 entries, more than ever before. Fringe30 has a real buzz with celebrations including Vers@Tile a multi-media arts project involving schools and community groups, a film festival courtesy of Buxton Film and an outdoor exhibition from Art on the Railings. The Fringe website's archive page is expanded with interviews with past and present Fringe figures carried out by High Peak Radio and broadcast via YouTube. Buxton Community School joins in the fun with special Fringe30 posters and a children's well dressing in our honour. The number of Fringe Friends goes up to 151 with Joint Membership now introduced for the first time. Peter Low, former chair, stands down from the committee. Our second audience and entrants' survey reveals even larger spend associated with the Fringe (over £350,000), younger audiences, higher audience satisfaction and increased ticket sales at the two managed venues, Nice and Underground. Buxton Community School Year 10 students begin making a documentary on A Year in the Life of the Fringe. The Fringe pioneers Schools Link designed to encourage Fringe entrants to perform at schools; this is refined for 2010.
The Fringe gets even bigger with over 150 entries including first ever Buxton Military Tattoo at the University of Derby Buxton's Dome (attracting 800 plus audience). Other firsts included the award-winning Buxton Art Trail and Hendrick's Horseless Carriage of Curiosities in the Pavilion Gardens. Burbage Primary joined in the fun with their first Fringe show - an award-winning music concert. The Fringe programme was adorned with cartoon sheep - The Wild Carrot produced a sympathetic shop window and the orange sheep became a mascot for the carnival float. Pavilion Care Home produced a lamb-tastic Fringe wall display as part of new Fringe community initiative. The Fringe gained a thriving Facebook page with over 500 friends by August. Also a presence on Twitter. Websites Fringeguru.com, Fringereview.com and festivalpreviews.com start to cover the Fringe. Fringe gives talk to BAFA Roadshow about digital marketing. School film does not come off but local company KingFilm Productions makes Fringe and Festival film for Buxton Advertiser.
Another record-breaking Fringe sees over 160 entries (with music entries up by a third) plus an increase in ticket sales and attendees. Underground Venues uses the brand new Pavilion Arts Centre as a venue for the first time attracting big names including Ed Reardon, Henning Wehn and Isy Suttie. The Fringe celebrates the new venue by launching its programme at a special evening of award-winning performers and visual artists called Fringe First on June 10. By October the Fringe has 771 likes on Facebook and over 1,000 followers on Twiitter. The Fringe increases its digital presence with a new mobile site for those wanting to access the Fringe programme via their mobile phone or tablet computer. Its Community Links programme expands with initiatives including art workshops with schools to create a giant ‘fringe’ displayed on the bandstand at Fringe Sunday and at the Carnival, where our float wins first prize in its category! Fringe cements its links with main sponsor the University of Derby Buxton, putting on a stall at student open days and helping marketing students use the Fringe as a case study. The Fringe also gains another key supporter in The Cavendish Arcade, which provides funding for a new improved venues map on the website and in the programme. KingFilm film mentioned in 2010 does not materialise but watch this space for 2011! The Fringe becomes part of Festivity, a new organisation to promote festivals across the county.
The Fringe continues its path of sustainable growth with 170 entries and ticket sales up by an estimated 24%. Total spend by audience and performers went up to £338,000 giving an indication of the economic benefits of the Fringe to Buxton. In the run up to the Fringe, the arrival of the Olympic Torch in Buxton on June 29 prompts various celebrations in the Pavilion Gardens including the Fringe’s Torch Songs and Other Treats featuring Fringe musicians on the Bandstand. The Fringe continues to work closely with its sponsor the University putting on stalls at student open days and attending community engagement meetings. We win second prize in our category at the carnival and expand our community links programme, forging a special relationship with housing trust Adullam, some of whose residents attend a comedy workshop facilitated by the Fringe and free tickets to certain shows. Buxton Community School provides sterling support at the Fringe desk including two year 10 work experience students - the second year that the Fringe has provided work experience. Fringe designer Armelle Hatch resigns to start a family and is replaced by Eric Tilley. An art competition is held to design the 2013 Fringe cover. Footage from KingFilm is salvaged and made into a promotional short - yay! The Buxton Festival has a new executive director, Randall Shannon, and a new artistic director, Stephen Barlow. The Fringe looks forward to working with both.