Free At Last: A guide (and some picks) to the first Philly FREE FRINGE

free-fringeThis year sees the first Free Fringe Philly, an independent mini-festival occurring committed to showcasing underground work at the accessible price you love.

The 50+ works in the Free Fringe run simultaneously to FringeArt’s official Fringe Festival. Most shows run just one or two nights and the aesthetic is low-budget and free wheeling, but the new fest includes several well-known Philly artists, including many whose work has lit up previous Fringes. 

Fergie at the Fringe

Fergie at the Fringe

The Free Fringe has its very own cabaret bar at Kismet Coworking Space, featuring a late night performance lineup and drinks powered by irrepressible restaurateur Fergus Carey of Fergie’s Pub, previously the organizer of festival bars for the main festival.

Best of all, every show in the Free Fringe is free, although they encourage you to pay the artists with by passing a hat at the end of the performance. 

Download a guide on the Free Fringe website and see a complete calendar and listing of shows there too. Here are some Free Fringe shows we thing you might want to check out:

  • Annie Wilson’s billialien (part of the main festival) concludes on select evenings with a purposefully bad open mic, Yesterday’s Garbage, part of the Free Fringe (September 6 + 8).
  • Does crime pay? Katherine Perry serves us brunch and tries to answer with Queen of the Underworld – Brunch with Sophie (September 8).
  • Former professional tour guide Jenna Horton deconstructs the historic walking tour in The Detour, an ambulatory performance that visits the historic sites of Philadelphia then looks at something else (September 12–20).
  • Fringe stalwart and Free Fringe organizer Chris Davis restages his first—and perhaps best—solo work, Drunk Lion (September 9).
  • Freshly returned from the Edinburgh Fringe, Jenna Kuerzi invites us to Dawn Phenomenon, a semi-autobiographical one-woman show about art, illness and adulting (September 17–22).
  • Free Fringe co-organizer Sarah Knittel invites you to enjoy the foundational fatherhood delights of the Ben Franklin Sex Party, cowritten with Fringe stalwart Bradley Wrenn of The Berserker Residents (September 13–21).

 See our picks for the main Fringe Festival.  

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About the author

Christopher Munden

Your faithful correspondent and publisher Christopher Munden has written and edited for many publications, websites, and cultural institutions. He was an editor/publisher of the Philly Fiction book series, collections of short stories written by local writers and set in Philadelphia. He's also a soccer coach and a pretty good skier.