There are several ways that festivals (both fringe festivals and other NYC festivals) determine the line-up of artists / shows for their festival. Over the next weeks we’ll be exploring some of these methods as a part of the blank canvas project.
Today we’ll talk about the most popular method for our neighbors to the North (Canada), which is also shared by several of the oldest fringe festivals in this country, too! It’s the First Come, First Served method – where artists apply and the first applications received (be they hand delivered or arriving via mail or digitally) are the shows that will be a part of the festival.
Often, though, after several years of this method – it becomes too chaotic to manage. So then many festivals turn to the Lottery model – where applications are accepted for a certain period of time, and then participants are chosen from that applicant pool via a drawing. Some festivals make an evening of the drawing – with artists and audience member able to observe and get excited about the line up.
This method obviously has many advantages and disadvantages. It allows the festival producers to control the SIZE of the festival (as opposed to the Open Access / BYOV method). But does it limit the marketing assistance that can be provided, when the festival team knows nothing about the show? What effect does the randomness have on diversity? We’ll ask some fellow fringe festivals to learn more – and discuss at our Convening on April 12th. Join us there – and let us know your thoughts below!