The Southside Fringe Festival has always been a self-funded entirely community-led and volunteer run festival. This year things have changed slightly and we have just became a Community Interest Company. Leading the team to take this exciting venture forward is festival co-founder Corinna.
How did the ideas develop for Southside Fringe?
Back in 2009 together with actors Vince Docherty, Karen Fraser and comedian Bruce Morton we formed Further South. A few events were organised via local night club La Roche Rumba and the satirical campaign Greater Shawlands Republic. There was an existing festival on the Southside, the Southside Festival. We'd all been involved in various ways and the existing fest was doing the job of catering to kids and families but the needs of the creative community on the Southside weren't being met and opportunities to boost local businesses and artists weren't being maximised. The more folk we chatted to, the more we realised there were many voices saying and wanting the same thing. In 2011 Further South morphed in to the Southside Fringe and in 2012 local music promoter, Crawford Smith came on board for a few years and together we gave the festival the push it needed and we got it off the ground in 2013.
How have things changed over the years?
Having run the festival as a voluntary organisation, this year we’ve become a community interest company. We’re proud to say to date the programme coordination, production and promotion have been entirely self funded, the fees we take for event and venue registrations has pretty much covered that aspect of the festival. The festival has grown and for everyone’s sanity we can no longer run it with volunteers. So in that way things are changing, you’ve all met Meg, who, thanks to a bridging loan, we’ve managed to take on full time to help me steer the good ship Southside Fringe.
So what does your role as Festival Director involve?
I love what I do with the Fringe, no two days are the same. Some days I’m desk boundtaking care of the books and compliances, some days are for brainstorming with team members. Other days I’m out and about on the Southside meeting and chatting to Southsiders and getting to see some pretty groovy behind the scenes sights, evenings can be spent eating cake with event organisers and of course, during the festival I get to feed my addiction to quality live events. In short, I lead the team, manage and direct the festival, develop strategies and secure the resources to make things happen.
How did you end up doing that?
My background in events and promotion goes back to my student days in the early 90’s. After studying I settled on the Isle of Mull, there I began my volunteering journey into community development, first as a volunteer leading to posts and consultancy contracts in heritage and the arts. I loved the mix of working with the community and seeing the real difference the project was making to people in the area. Moving back to the mainland to study an MA in Heritage & Tourism Management and settling in the Southside, I got the performance bug and performed with ‘Carnivale Fatale’, and ‘Improv Dogs’. I co-own the stilt commission duo ‘Sneek Show’ and under the alias of my alter ego, Sarcassy Sneek. I produce and host burlesque and alt-cabaret nights. I also freelance in a variety of roles in event management. Through these experiences it became apparent that a platform was needed for the wealth of talent here on the Southside and I was lucky that I was able to put both my event and community development expertise to work and make it happen.
What do you think you bring to the festival?
Determination, experience, vision, creativity, love and risk. And probably inspire a few rolled eyes and throwing of inanimate objects.
What would you advise someone looking to get in to events of community development?
Volunteer! I wouldn’t be where I was today if I didn’t begin as a volunteer, it’s the perfect way to try on different roles for size, to get experience under your belt and to open up your networks. Keep an eye on social media in the events and community sectors for opportunities and use your initiative. Live events require you to think creatively on your feet, always be prepared for a catastrophe and always have a plan up your sleeve. Join local groups and build your community networks and always look at the big community picture, what does the community need, how can resources be shared, how can collaborations be created and most of all how can we all work together to create something beautiful out of nothing.
And finally .... can you give us any hot scoops on what the future of the festival holds?
This year we will be applying for funding in earnest as well as putting in to action our income generating plans. These include introducing and establishing a monthly whats on called Scene on the Southside and developing promotional tools for local businesses, groups and event organisers. But the really big news is……… we’re going to be here year round and not just for the festival period. We’re in the throes of securing a more permanent base in a retail unit in Shawlands in response to requests for running projects year round. Stay tuned for more about On The Fringe coming soon.