Cotswold Life - - AUGUST - STROUD FRINGE

Your ul­ti­mate guide to where to go and what to do in Au­gust

Stroud Fringe is cel­e­brat­ing 21 years of bring­ing mu­sic and may­hem to the Cotswold town. We caught up with or­gan­is­ers Char­lotte (Lotte) Lys­ter and Julie Howe to find out more…

Happy 21st An­niver­sary! Tell us about the his­tory of Stroud Fringe.

Lotte: It is in­deed the 21st birthday of Stroud Fringe, and Julie and I are de­lighted to be or­gan­is­ing Stroud’s big­gest party of the year! There have been lots of won­der­ful peo­ple and com­mit­tees run­ning it over the years, in­clud­ing lo­cal clog danc­ing troupe, Roughshod, who did a fab­u­lous job. Many pre­vi­ous or­gan­is­ers have gone on to run other fes­ti­vals and events – my men­tor has been Sue Tor­res who now runs Wicked Events and is a direc­tor of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Fes­ti­val Or­gan­is­ers.

How long have you been in­volved with Stroud Fringe?

Lotte: I’ve been on the pe­riph­ery of the Fringe for quite a few years, run­ning bars as The Prince Al­bert and spon­sor­ing and book­ing the bands for a stage one year. It was only nat­u­ral to take on the whole she­bang when the com­mit­tee stepped down af­ter the 2014 fes­ti­val.

Julie: This is our third year run­ning the Fringe now, along with lots of amaz­ing vol­un­teers.

How is the Fringe funded?

Julie: The fes­ti­val costs nearly £100k a year to run and we raise some of that through spon­sor­ships, grants and do­na­tions. We sell Stroud Fringe mer­chan­dise and eco-cups to help raise rev­enue, and there’s a ‘do­nate’ but­ton on our web­site so that the pub­lic can sup­port us, too.

Lotte: We now run all the bars as Stroud Fringe so that 100% of the prof­its are ploughed straight back into run­ning the fes­ti­val. We’ll be out with do­na­tion buck­ets over the week­end too, and ev­ery pound counts!

What changes have you seen over the years?

Lotte: In its early days the Fringe was more of a folk and dance fes­ti­val and it’s changed many times over the years. Since we’ve been run­ning the Fringe we’ve tried re­ally hard to make sure there’s some­thing for ev­ery­one. Although I’ve got a per­sonal am­bi­tion to in­tro­duce a tea dance in the fu­ture, so if any­one out there fan­cies run­ning one give us a shout!

Julie: It used to be a tick­eted fes­ti­val but one of the com­mit­ments we made was to make it a to­tally free fes­ti­val. It’s now a fam­ily-friendly event made up of six stages, chil­dren’s work­shops, street theatre… ev­ery­thing, re­ally!

Any in­ter­est­ing sto­ries you can tell us about pre­vi­ous years – both good and bad?!

Julie: We were struck by light­ning last year! Well, it hit St Lau­rence’s church steeple to be pre­cise. It was the loud­est bang I’ve ever heard, all the sound gear had to be turned off

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