How did the idea for a Fringe Festival come about?
We wanted to create something huge and fun and bold and creatively risky. We want to offer a big tasting platter of our art, ideas, music and fun. We know we might not be in this building for long, and we want to share it with the wider community of Belfast. Our plan is to create something that had never happened in Belfast before, and we know it might never happen again. For us, that makes it even more exciting.
In the Fringe tradition generally the work being presented is considered to be experimental or on the “fringes” of the mainstream. Is that the case with the Vault Fringe Festival?
Of course. Our entire existence in Tower Street is a bit experimental and on the fringes of the mainstream.
The Vault Fringe Festival is a multi genre festival. What genres will be represented and how has that approach been developed?
There will be a bit of everything; live music, djs, performances, visual art workshops, script readings, axe throwing, mini golf, circus, food, drink and everything in between. The diversity of the Fringe Programme represents the diversity of our membership. Our members are creatives from all artistic and cultural disciplines. This beautiful elixir of ideas is represented in the multi-genre programme.
The International Fringe Festival Association is the support organisation for Fringe festivals internationally. Does the Vault fringe festival see itself as part of the international fringe movement?
Not really, does that mean we’re on the fringe of the Fringe? We haven’t really aligned ourselves with any official organisations, and that’s partly been a choice for us to say ‘you know what, we can do this ourselves’ without filling in reams of paperwork and waiting for someone else’s approval. We’re happy doing what we’re doing over here in the margins.
Was there a jury or a selection process or is the festival unjuried or open?
Any member could submit an event. Nothing was out of bounds or vetoed.
There are a host of festivals in Belfast – what makes The Vault Fringe Festival different from other festivals like CQAF for example?
Vault Fringe is a mad two days of art, ideas and creative experimentation. Our location, building and membership make us unique. We’re here to spark joy, inspire and play. We use art and creativity to make that happen. We’re not part of the institution of festivals happening in Belfast at the minute, this is something a little dirtier, riskier and more playful.
In this period of substantial cuts to the arts budget has it been difficult to fund the festival?
Yes, of course. We’re funding it ourselves. We haven’t applied for government or arts council funding or anything like that. We want to mess about, to play, and to give audiences a good time. We would love more money to fund the festival, of course, but that hasn’t been our priority. Our priority and focus has been on creating a big mad event in East Belfast.
Is this a one-off festival or is it likely that the organisers would be looking to make this a regular/annual festival?
At this stage, it’s a one-off. Isn’t that exciting?