Okay…so what exactly is a Fringe Festival?  

Fringe /frinj/ (n., adj.):

bangs, decorative trim, natural border, tassels; not part of the mainstream, unconventional, peripheral, or extreme.    


Festival /’festəvəl/ (n.):

an organized series of concerts, plays, or movies, typically one held annually in the same place


Fringe festival /frinj ‘festəvəl/ (n.):

an arts festival featuring alternative or experimental performances and exhibitions

Is this the first-ever?

For South Bend, yes!  For the world, no!  This theatre fest originated in Edinburgh, Scotland in the 1940s as a big middle finger to an invite-only arts festival that was happening at the same time.  Independent artists banded together and the first Fringe was born!  Now Fringe festivals happen all around the world to celebrate the creativity of independent performing artists.  

There is no hierarchy of good art vs. bad art in Fringe–everyone has a shot of making it into the festival regardless of what their show is.  The content is purposefully uncensored for artists to gain full creative freedom.  To explore other Fringes, visit:  

What’s the deal with South Bend Fringe?

The first iteration of South Bend’s own Fringe Festival will happen this May 6-9th throughout venues in Downtown South Bend and South Bend’s parks.  28 shows will perform multiple times over the course of 4 days…totaling 106 individual performances!

And you’re doing this during a pandemic?

Yes.  We’ve been working closely with the local health department to ensure maximum safety for performers and audience members.  There is a mask requirement for all attendees at the Fringe, chairs will be distanced, sanitizer will be at each stage, etc.  Any performers you see performing without masks are fully vaccinated or members of the same household.  For full COVID rules, see the tab at the top of the Fringe website.

This sounds amazing!  How do I get tickets?  

Click our ticketing tab for options!  Fringe is an experience designed to expose audience members to a variety of shows, so there are only options to view a minimum of 3 shows in a ticket bundle.  Each show comes out to $5 apiece, and this price bumps up to $8 for a single, day-of ticket, so get them early!  Make sure once you purchase tickets to select the shows you plan on seeing…we only have 50 seats per stage and this will ensure you get your spot.

May in South Bend…hmmm….it could rain…

Yep.  We are prepared to offer refunds for any tickets of shows that are cancelled due to inclement weather.  We may schedule a rain make-up date on May 15th if necessary.  

Where do I park?

We are encouraging attendees to park in the lots at South Bend Civic Theatre (403 N. Main St.) and First United Methodist Church (333 N. Main St.) and walk to the stages.  Street performers will be along the way to enjoy and walking will give you the full experience.  Parking can also be found throughout downtown South Bend.  

Is there a shuttle?

Unfortunately with COVID safety we do not have a shuttle this year.  Fingers crossed for next year!

Is there anything else I should know? 

Tip the artists!  Our ticket sales this year are going directly back to the cost of creating the event, so we are encouraging all audience members to tip the artists as you see shows you enjoy!  Venmo/CashApp/PayPal info is listed under artist profiles on the website.  Let’s support our local artists. 

Bananas!  Volunteers dressed as bananas will be around the Fringe if you aren’t sure how to get to a stage or are wondering what time and where the next show is!