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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ken Pinto drops by the Coast office to discuss the Fringe Festival

And the lack of it

Posted By on Wed, Apr 13, 2011 at 5:10 PM

click to enlarge Ken Pinto - MATTHEW MORGAN
Former Atlantic Fringe Fest director Ken Pinto came by the office to discuss the fallout from yesterday’s announcement that announced Pinto was putting the festival on hold for two years while he focused on Titanic 100.

Pinto reiterated the points he made on Mainstreet yesterday afternoon, saying that he had some people in mind for the position, but they had either moved away or proved unreliable. He held fast to his assertion that there are precious few volunteers that show up to the Fringe Fest’s quarterly volunteer meetings---claiming that there are hardly any volunteers from the artist community at all---most volunteers are made up of “the plumbers, the normal people.”

Despite saying that for the past 20 years the Fringe Fest hasn’t been able to turn a profit, and that he donates his salary every year, Pinto says he has even greater concerns if another organization such as The Bus Stop takes over, “It’s a gamble if they take it over---I’m worried it might fail.”

But some think that even a chance to take over would have been the ethical choice. There was no public notice about the planned hiatus in advance, a fact that drew a lot of criticism. “I should have had a job posting,” Pinto says.

He explains that the Fringe Festival board is merely an “advisory board” and that “they don’t meet that often,” making meetings difficult to arrange. “They trust me because I keep the money going,” Pinto says about the board. His decision was “mentioned in passing” as he had planned on making the official announcement about the Fringe Fest at the media launch tomorrow for Titanic 100.

This fact cannot offer much comfort for the local theatre community, but Pinto plans on attending the public meeting this Sunday, April 17 at 12 at the Cultural Federation of Nova Scotia (1113 Marginal Road, doors at 11:45am, seating is limited). He says he would be happy to pass the whole festival over, name and all, to the right person.

The alternative to Pinto finding a replacement would be to create a new festival---something that may work well and be refreshing. However, this option leaves the new festival without the cultural cachet of the Atlantic Fringe Festival name.

We hope that some agreement can be reached, as two years is a long time to go without a dedicated fringe festival in a city that is so passionate about theatre.

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