Montreal Infringement Festival moves to November to coincide with World Fringe Congress

Exactly 16 years ago on this day (June 19), the St. Ambroise Fringe booted the innovative show “Car Stories” from the festival, allegedly on orders of a corporate sponsor. When artists didn’t receive their ticket sales after paying hefty fees to participate in the now-trademarked “Fringe” Festival, they were outraged. This sparked off the creation in Montreal of the infringement movement, an activist and do-it-yourself way of producing the arts based on the original Edinburgh Fringe of 1947.

Starting in 2004, the Montreal infringement festival has been held at the same time as the “Fringe” to provide artists with a no-cost alternative and to demand positive changes that better protect artists and their spectators from corporate interference and overzealous arts administrators.


This year, Montreal infringement festival is moving from June to November to coincide with the third World Fringe Congress, a gathering of Fringe administrators from around the planet! These arts administrators and power-brokers will be in Montreal to discuss the business dynamics surrounding Fringe Festivals, such as trademarking the word “fringe”, which corporate sponsors are the most profitable, “extra fees” to add onto ticket sales, how much money to charge the artists to perform, etc.

The infringement festival has participated at the first two World Fringe Congresses in Edinburgh, Scotland. In an effort to persuade Fringe administrators to start putting artists first, in the tradition of the original Fringe of 1947, infringement artists have presented workshops and performances at the Edinburgh Fringe and the World Fringe Congress that are critical of excessive corporate manipulation at Fringe Festivals. The New York Times baptized the infringement an “opposition party” to the present, questionable way of doing business at Fringe Festivals.

According to infringement founder Donovan King, “The fact that the Congress is being held in Montreal, the birthplace of the infringement movement, is an exciting opportunity to showcase what can happen when artists are put in charge of a festival and corporations are blocked from transforming it into a marketing opportunity. Let’s hope the Fringe administrators come with an open mind. By taking advantage of this exceptional opportunity, they can learn how to better protect artists and find ways to prevent corporations from compromising what was once an authentic, grassroots, artist-driven festival.”

Running from November 15 – 20, 2016, the Montreal infringement festival is currently courting collaborators and artists for its 13th annual edition. Details can be found on the Montreal Infringement Festival website.




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