Bigger, better Fringe Festival coming to town
The New Jersey Fringe Festival, after a four-year hiatus, is back in Hammonton on August 18-20 and appears bigger than ever.
The last New Jersey Fringe Festival, which celebrates various forms of art and performance, was in August 2019. It was shut down during the pandemic.
“We’re excited to have Fringe come back,” said Jim Donio, Eagle Theatre board president and co-founder of New Jersey Fringe Festival. “It’s such an important festival to expose people to the art and culture and live theater and live performances, but it’s also just a fun time.”
The first Fringe Festival was held in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1947. Other countries soon created their own Fringe Festivals. The oldest fringe festival in the U.S. is in Orlando, Florida, which began in 1992.
When those involved with the Eagle Theatre saw there was no New Jersey Fringe Festival, they wanted to change that.
“People had talked about Fringe for years, but never got it off the ground,” Donio said. “We wanted to be the first. We did it. I was one of the co-founders of it back in 2016, and I’m still involved today and we’re excited about bringing it back,” Donio said.
There will be 11 different performances throughout the festival.
“It’s right in your backyard. If you’ve never been to a Fringe, this is your year to come and test it out even if you come out and grab a beer and hang out and listen to some music,” Donio said.
Festival coordinator Tiara Nock said the Friday kickoff party is new this year.
“It’s an opportunity for artists to celebrate themselves and their art, but also to meet the festivalgoers and festivalgoers to meet and get previews of the artist,” Nock said.
There will be live music, food trucks, craft vendors and a beer and wine garden during the festival.
“Saturday and Sunday is when the fun happens with the Fringe, so audience members and festivalgoers can come to downtown Hammonton and walk all over Hammonton to see art and to see performances,” Nock said.
There will be a Fringe hub on Saturday and Sunday where people can enjoy live music from the start of the festival at noon till 11 p.m.
On Saturday at 2 p.m., Die-Cast will host a Physical Imagination Masterclass workshop, then on Sunday at 1 p.m., Die-Cast will host a Writing Intensive Masterclass.
“The first workshop is a Physical Imagination workshop and this masterclass allows you to go through a series of exercises and techniques to unite the physical imagination,” said Nock, who used to be a performer at the Fringe Festival with the Allegory Dance Theatre. “The second workshop is a writing intensive that is only Sunday, and this is really going through how Die-Cast do their writing prompts and why they are an award-winning artist collective. They are very well known in Philadelphia, so we’re very excited to have them here.”
Allegory Dance Theatre will be coming back this year, and they will be preforming “Chapters,” a collection of stories. According to the festival website, “giving voice to women, a death inspired dream, honoring historical female authors and giving freedom to our creative impulses are all themes you will find within these choreographic works.”
One of the new performances this year includes “Johnny Depp!: (A Retrospective on Late Stage Capitalism)” starring Jenna Kuerzi.
“I saw it in Philly. It’s hilarious. She dresses up as Johnny Depp, but Johnny Depp from Pirates of the Caribbean, so she is Captain Jack Sparrow,” Nock said.
All-access passes are $39 for all three days. Single-day passes are $24 for Saturday and Sunday.
“This wristband allows you full access to Saturday and Sunday’s performances with also a $1 off all drinks for the entire weekend. We also have day passes where if you just want to go for Saturday and see all the shows that day you can do that as well,” Nock said.
To purchase tickets and see the festival map and performance schedule, visit njfringefestival.com.