Edmonton Fringe Festival off to ‘amazing start’ despite B.C. wildfire smoke

The Edmonton International Fringe Festival.
The Edmonton International Fringe Festival. Marc J Chalifoux, Edmonton International Fringe Festival

Despite smoke and haze from the B.C. wildfires engulfing Edmonton for much of last week, organizers of the 37th Edmonton International Fringe Festival say the conditions haven’t impacted the event.

“It’s been an amazing start to the festival this year,” Fringe Theatre communications specialist Megan Dart said.

“We’ve had great audiences and shows are selling out.”

READ MORE: 2018 Edmonton International Fringe Festival reviews

Last year, festivalgoers set a record by buying 130,000 tickets. Nearly 810,000 people took in the festival over 11 days, bringing in nearly $1.2 million for the artists.

Dart said tickets sales are up five per cent during the first few days of the festival compared to last year.

“It’s great to see our city out and celebrating Fringe.”

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The Air Quality Health Index dropped to a moderate level of four by Saturday afternoon, after reaching 10+ or a very high risk on Friday and into Saturday morning.

Dart said there is a team at the festival that is monitoring air quality to ensure artists, volunteers and audiences take precaution if necessary.

“It doesn’t seem to be dampening spirits around the festival site whatsoever,” she said.

“Thankfully, most of our activities are indoors. We have 227 theatre shows to choose from in venues that most of which are air conditioned, so there is plenty opportunity to get out of the smoke and in to see some theatre.”

READ MORE: Edmonton International Fringe Festival 2018: show ratings and live eye cam

The Fringe runs for 11 days, from Thursday, Aug. 16 to Sunday, Aug. 26.