Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals invited to debate its trademark on the word “Fringe”

In true democratic tradition, the Montreal Infringement festival has issued an invitation to the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals (CAFF) to engage in a debate about the trademark on the word “Fringe”, Canadian Parliamentary-style:


Dear CAFF representative,

The Montreal Infringement Festival would like to invite the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals to a Parliamentary-style debate about the Canada-wide trademark on the word “Fringe”.

Because all infringement artists were excluded when applying to the 3rd World Fringe Congress, we feel it is important to dialogue with your organization in hopes of eventually resolving long-standing issues between artists and Fringe administrators. To quote excluded Buffalo infringement artist Cat McCarthy:

“Why do we scare you so much? If you want to have a well-run festival, you must know the counterculture you have excluded. Fringe artists are supposed to be cutting-edge and on the fringe of new and exciting artistic expression.”

It is a question worth looking at. Canadian parliamentary-style debate is an important way of examining contentious issues in the democratic tradition of our country. Opposing teams of two debaters each follow a set of rules and make their case before the Speaker, all within strict time limits. The purpose is to hash out issues with the goal of their eventual resolution.

While we are open to having this debate when it is convenient for you, we have reserved some time at the World Infringement Congress on Saturday, November 19 from 3:15 to 4 pm at the Old Bank Arts Space in the working class neighbourhhood of Point Saint Charles (1900 Wellington Street) where there will be a captive audience of people. There will be two seats reserved for your organization in case you decide to take us up on this challenge.

The Infringement Festival believes that dialogue and debate are the best ways to resolve contentious issues and to set sensible policies that protect artists, spectators, communities and culture from excessive corporate interference in the arts. As such, we hope you will engage us in this important debate.

To make arrangements, please email me at



Donovan King

Montreal Infringement Festival


Ottawa Citizen


Leave a Reply