The Chelsea Fringe is an alternative garden festival celebrating community growing initiatives, outdoor performance, botanical art, walks, talks and events during nine days in late May

  • There were around 220 events in 2018, the seventh year of the Chelsea Fringe Festival. We have now seen more than 1,600 events created for the festival
  • Projects ranged from community-garden events to avant-garde art installations, from walks, talk and performances, to workshops, dinners, demonstrations and on-street ‘happenings’. Nearly all the events were free
  • The Fringe, a community interest company (CIC), is unsponsored, unfunded and volunteer-run
  • The World Festival Network has called the Chelsea Fringe ‘the fastest-growing Fringe festival ever’
  • Around 1,000 individuals created the events, while the Chelsea Fringe itself was run by a team of around a dozen volunteers
  • In 2018 there were a number of ‘satellite’ Chelsea Fringe Festivals – in Cambridge, Cornwall, Henley-on-Thames, Kent, the Isle of Mull; Fukuoka, Nagoya in Japan; Argentina, Canada, Poland, and five cities in Italy – with more coming on board for 2019
  • The Chelsea Fringe attracted national and international media coverage, including BBC and ITV television news, BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio London, as well as articles/listings in all the major broadsheet newspapers. The Fringe has been particularly well supported by The Daily Telegraph, the Independent on Sunday, the Evening Standard and The Guardian
  • The Chelsea Fringe is a true Fringe festival in that
    • i) it operates on the Fringe of an established event or festival [in this case, Chelsea Flower Show], and
    • ii) it works on an ‘open-access principle’, in that if it’s interesting, legal and on the topic of plants, gardens or landscape, it’s in!
  • Anyone can enter a project in the Chelsea Fringe; most projects pay £35 (volunteer/community rate)
  • There is an increasing national and international component to the Fringe. In its first year a number of international artists participated, and the intention has always been to spread the Fringe ideal more widely
  • The Chelsea Fringe operates with the blessing of the Royal Horticultural Society, organisers of Chelsea Flower Show
  • The Fringe does not last for just 9 days. We continue to encourage the spread of ‘fringe gardening’ (as we like to call it) all year round
  • The Fringe was an original idea by founder-director Tim Richardson, a garden writer and historian

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