Forest Fringe 2010 marks return to original aesthetic

Edinburgh events and arts space gives artists free reign

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This article is from 2010.

Forest Fringe 2010 marks return to original aesthetic

Located no more than a small stone’s throw from a lot of the Fringe activity lies The Forest - known throughout the rest of the year as a free events and arts space supplemented with a volunteer-run cafe and the home base of the Forest Fringe during the month of August for the past three years. This free festival caters to artists who want to display their work in an unrestricted, friendly, and open environment, bringing them together through an event that allows audiences to explore their thoughts, ideas, experiences, and adventures.

And that’s exactly how the festival’s schedule is set up. Every day is divided into segments - each with a different mindset fueling the activities taking place during them. From noon to 5pm A Festival of Thoughts focuses on conversation and communication of ideas with events like The Ideas Cabinet (anyone is allowed to sell or buy ideas with price tags ranging between 1p and 1£) and SLOTORAMA (the artist that will perform for that the following hour is chosen completely at random, so no one knows what is going to happen). The activities are more casual and open, allowing the community to participate at their own discretion. At 5pm the next set of performances is wrapped into the Festival of Ideas - where a wide variety of artists exhibit a large range of shows.

Amongst this group of artists is Greg McLaren who is set to put on such an experimental, aural, and visual show. He has been out on the streets, singing to anyone and everyone, without explaining his intentions to his audience - quite possibly coming across as a bit of a loon. 'By denying the public an easy definition and reason for my behaviour they either get involved or become agitated and suspicious, even though what I sing is perfectly understandable as language.' He has recorded his exploits and the reactions of the public, and will be exhibiting these during his 7pm (16th and 17th of August) slot at the Forest. Through combining these recordings with specially composed music and a live performance Greg hopes to get 'people to consider the power in their voice, and how much we understand from the vocal sounds a human makes.'

The Festival of Experiences is a sequence of late nights that deliver live art, music, and film to audiences. Amongst these events, Moveyhouse (on Tuesday the 10th at 11pm) lets Aberdeen-based electronica producer and vocalist Fiona Soe Paing perform an audio-visual set, and will feature a live performance from in-house band The Suitcase Royale. The night’s organizer (and co-director of the Forest Fringe) Andy Field says he was hoping to create 'a night that gave people the opportunity to think about film and live performance in a different way.'

But the Forest Fringe doesn’t restrict itself to the confines of The Forest. During the day the Festival of Adventures takes people away from the venue and lets them explore and interact with hidden spaces across the city. The Bench, a piece by Anthony Hampton and Glen Neath seeks to re-introduce the art of first encounters with strangers - reviving the art of meeting others for the first time. It is up to you and a friend to think of a person to have the other pair up with and gather at the bench. Without any onlookers each participant follows instructions that dictates how to respond to dialogue and small movements - creating a sort of funny but surreal tension between the two.

The Forest Fringe is a new (yet it feels quite logical) way of experiencing the Edinburgh Festivals for both audiences and artists. It allows artists free reign of their work without having to worry about huge amounts of money that are usually sunk into advertising (flyers are surprisingly expensive!)- letting them display their work with the help of a supportive and appreciative community. The festival won last year’s Empty Space Award - which has allowed it to expand past the confines of The Forest and establish events across various other spaces in the UK such as the Microfestival in Glasgow’s Arches.

This article is from 2010.

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