Colour and movement have filled Mount Gambier with the city’s Fringe festival returning to the region after a two-year hiatus.
Organisers have been overwhelmed with the success of the festival, which was cancelled last year due to COVID-19.
Festival committee spokesperson Talie Teakle said after a nerve-wracking week full of memories from last year’s unexpected cancellation, the team was able to relax and smile seeing “amazing events kick off”.
“Walking among aerial artists in the Cave Gardens, into a UV art installation called Bioluminesence, then on to fire twirlers in Jens carpark, you cannot help but feel transported into a Fringe wonderland,” she said.
“It was so lovely to talk to people who had been able to event hop from one event to another and there were over 2500 people throughout the opening night visiting the Twilight Markets at the Showgrounds. Many of them also attending music at Metro, cocktails at Confession Coffee House and such.”
Ms Teakle said there had been an overwhelmingly positive response, with the festival vibe spreading throughout the venues.
“Nothing made me more excited than seeing all the activity online with events tagging #fringemountgamber to show us their venues and performances and to announce sold out shows,” she said.
“We got to see Kelsie at the Apple Farm talking about being hypnotised, dancers on the mat in the Cave Gardens and we live streamed amazing performances from the Sir Robert Helpmann stage and Lisa Lotti with her hula hoops at Jens.
“Watching love heart and wow emojis flashing across my screen during a stream is the best feeling and we have had great comments regarding our online content making the Fringe accessible to people who for many reasons cannot make it to events.”
Ms Teakle said the only negative to come from the event was the presence of online scammers.
“With a great online presence has also come some unwanted attention, as a lot of energy had to be spent closing down fake Fringe Mount Gambier profiles and removing comments about ticket sales and fake live stream links, but that must be a sign of our huge online footprint,” she said.
Jens Town Hall Hotel publican Aaron Davis said the weekend was a big hit, with people flooding into the venue for two big nights of performances.
“The numbers were great, we sat around the 500 mark outside for most of the night,” he said.
“To pull off such a huge event with all of the COVID restrictions was a challenge and I’m so proud of all my staff.
“It’s amazing to think that this time last year we had to lay off 37 staff due to lockdowns and now here we are hosting a fantastic community event.
“The artists were great and I hope people keep supporting all the shows around the Mount over the next few days.”
The Fringe festival runs until March 21, with plenty more events on offer.
Visit www.fringemountgambier.com.au to view the full program.