The Adelaide Fringe is around the corner and it’s going to be a little different this year. Here are some tips on how to best support acts and stay COVID-safe while doing it.
How to be a good Fringe-goer
This year will mark the 10th consecutive performance at Adelaide Fringe for magician and mentalist Matt Tarrant. It will also mark his first public show in a year after COVID restrictions “cancelled basically everything”.
“As you can imagine, not working and not doing what you love for 12 months is a hit, both financially, but for me most of all mentally, it’s quite exhausting,” Tarrant said.
He added it is important for all South Australians, not just artists, that the Adelaide Fringe is going ahead this year.
“We were fortunate last year… we had the biggest festival in the world because the Adelaide Fringe was one of the only [festivals] that was actually able to go ahead. This year is looking like it might be similar with the situation in Europe and America.
“I feel like this is an opportunity to show the world how well SA has done when it comes to COVID, but also just how good our festivals can be.”
With more than 21,000 performances across over 275 venues scheduled for the festival throughout SA, the Fringe has made several adjustments to comply with COVID-19 guidelines and regulations.
All venues will have QR codes for check-ins and strict COVID-19 management plans.
Adelaide Fringe director and CEO Heather Croall said all venues, including major outdoor hubs such as The Garden of Unearthly Delights and Gluttony, will be operating at reduced capacities to help ensure social distancing.
Croall encouraged punters to book tickets ahead of time to ensure entry into the outdoor hubs.
As all Fringe tickets can be booked online, Croall also recommended using the ‘e-ticketing’ option, which allows a ticket to be stored on a mobile device rather than being printed out.
The ‘Double Your Applause’ ticket-type has been introduced to help artists earn decent profits despite venues only being allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity.
By selecting this ticket-type, Fringe-goers are buying the empty seat next to theirs to help artists generate lost revenue from reduced capacity limits.
Tarrant said while he would “absolutely” appreciate punters purchasing ‘Double Your Applause’ tickets, he encouraged others to attend.
“I think the idea of the [‘Double Your Applause’ ticket] is fantastic if the show’s sold out, but for me, I just want to see as many people as I possibly can at my show, so…bring a friend that hasn’t seen a show before, bring a friend that you may think might love it or…might not, and just test it out,” Tarrant said.
Punters are also being encouraged to buy tickets to mid-week shows rather than the popular weekend slots.
Tickets to Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday performances are discounted, and with reduced capacities, venues will sell out quickly.
Audiences can also choose to watch a number of shows and events from the comfort of their own home with the Fringe’s new ‘Watch from Home’ ticket-types.
Adelaide Fringe Head of Program Operations and Business Development Jo O’Callaghan said the ‘Watch from Home’ tickets allow people who might not feel like going out, or for people who are immuno-compromised, to be able to still access Fringe from their houses.
“People can still feel a part of the Fringe at a distance,” O’Callaghan said.
For the many people who will attend live Fringe events, COVID marshals will be present at every venue, with some artists, such as Tarrant, choosing to take on the role themselves.
“That’s why we can go ahead with [the Fringe], because the festival, the city, the state and the artists themselves are really taking [COVID safety] incredibly seriously,” said Tarrant.
“If I didn’t feel like we could do this successfully and safely, I wouldn’t want to do it.”
“I passed the tests with flying colours and I’m ready to make sure that not only does everyone have a magical night, but also a safe night.”
Most of all, O’Callaghan said South Australians need to continue to show their support for the Fringe.
“Adelaide Fringe has always been the peoples’ festival, it will continue to be the peoples’ festival. Without the audiences participating, we wouldn’t exist,” O’Callaghan said.
“So, it’s really important that we all join together as a community to support the artists and the venues, and within that we monitor and respect the people around us.”