FRINGE EVENTS – Adelaide Fringe History Walk – From Government House – Flamboyance Tours – 4.5K

By Peter Maddern

Those who see the Fringe as little more than a visit to The Garden may find the history of this extraordinary festival rather more interesting than the taste of yet another beer.

Katina Vangopoulos’s Flamboyance Tours has created an excellent walking tour that covers the Fringe from its first days to its current manifestation. While she is quite young, Katina delivers her presentations with great confidence and charm, skillfully navigating between knowing it all and being a know-all.

The walk starts at the entrance to Government because that is where the first Fringe box office was erected 60 years ago. From there we pass a number of old Fringe posters that have been erected along North Terrace into Rundle  where much history was created in the 1970s around the time the Street became a Mall, before finishing off at the entrance to the Garden.

Reflecting back, the story of the Fringe, in an Adelaide way, has some resonance with the development of Las Vegas; big ideas held by a few with little by way of a road map forward that has now become a very big thing – here the biggest Fringe in the Southern hemisphere and the second biggest in the world behind Edinburgh.

Katina’s tour, complete with handouts of quotes by important figures across the years, also make one consider whether what we have now is still a Fringe. While Patrick White’s famous play in 1960 would still get a run, one wonders how many other of the type of acts that were there at its formation could get any traction today. The ‘Fringe’ today is no longer a true fringe, instead it is really just a big contemporary arts festival and those artists of the type that were once given a home by Frank Ford and the other pioneers of his ‘Focus’ are as uncared for once more as when the Festival of Arts chose its first program and left them out.

However you view the Fringe, understanding a bit of its history will prove valuable and Katina’s terrific tour of memories and movements is an ideal way of getting that. In its 60th year, and in all likelihood with its peak behind us, this is a time to learn and reflect.

Kryztoff Rating 4.5K

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