Chelsea Fringe Festival 2017: What you need to know

With this year’s Chelsea Fringe Festival fast approaching, we spoke to Tim Richardson again, festival director of the Chelsea Fringe Festival, to find out a bit more about what we can expect at this year’s festival.

What to expect at the 2017 Chelsea Fringe Festival

1. This year’s Chelsea Fringe festival is only a month away, can you give any inside information about what to expect?

The great thing about the Fringe is that we genuinely don’t know quite what to expect. Every year I am surprised and delighted by what turns up, and every year events come in a form which I was not quite expecting. At the Fringe, we see this as a good thing! So take your pick and dive in….

2. Do you have any high-profile attendees this year?

We don’t really bother with the whole celebrity roundabout at the Fringe. We make a virtue of community events and projects based on imagination and fun as opposed to lots of cash and celebrity endorsement. Having said that, we always have interesting people participate or turn up at events. Piet Oudolf is a big fan of the Fringe and often comes, and Cleve West has supported us from the start. In our first year, we even had a royal visit! Camilla Duchess of Cornwall came to see our events in Hackney.

3. What events do you have running this year?

Once again there is a brilliant smorgasbord of events in the Fringe – and they are not only in London. Many of them are interactive: you can learn how to make a meadow in a marmalade jar at the Town House, Spitalfields, marvel at textiles and papers made of plants at Morley College’s secret garden, or go on an artist’s walk around Battersea Power Station. Then there is the dog show at beautiful Inner Temple gardens, a new floating pocket park in Paddington and three new gardens at Broadgate (next to Liverpool Street). There is so much – hundreds of events.

4. Is there a particular talk you are really looking forward to, or would recommend attendees go to?

We do have straight talks in the Fringe but most are walks or demos. One great event this year is a walk around Elephant and Castle with Richard Reynolds, the internationally revered guerrilla gardener (he also designed the Fringe logo for us!).

5. If you were only able to attend for 1 day, what would you recommend doing?

You can see a lot in a day. My advice would be to pick your day and then about a week before check our website for the daily/weekly listing we compile. This is the easiest way to get a handle on what’s on where. Most people travel all around London in a day – it’s like a treasure hunt!

6. Do you have a lot of community gardening activities taking place at this year’s event, as you did last year?

Oh yes, community gardens are a core aspect of the Fringe. If you haven’t experienced one you will be amazed I am sure by somewhere like the Dalston Eastern Curve garden in Hackney. It is extremely funky.


Be sure to get your visit sorted and keep an eye on the agenda to plan your time at the festival!


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