If there is one positive thing about living in a pandemic in the 21st century, it is that it makes you appreciate local art – and we have so much here in Brisbane! The latest celebration of local art comes from the new and exciting fringe-like festival program proposed by Sideshow.

Produced by creative director David Carberry and funded through Play Local by Arts Queensland, Sideshow’s program supports almost local 40 artists across nine projects ranging from music, experimental circus, cabaret and more.

The program is titled Sideshow West End Fringe Program and endeavours to offer Brisbane the fringe-like experience that we are currently missing.

“Taking my personal experience of travelling the world as a performer, I wanted to bring a slice of my experience of fringe festivals in Edinburgh and Adelaide to Brisbane,” David Carberry said.

Unlike Adelaide, Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Darwin, Brisbane does not have a fringe festival. Yes, we have our own Brisbane Festival and a thriving cultural ecology all year round; but for some reason, people still think that nothing ever happens in Brisbane. The connotation of Fringe Festival comes with artistic vibrancy. Brisbane has this vibrancy, but it often goes uncelebrated. 

Sideshow West End Fringe Program is a reminder of the incredible local artists that the city hosts.

“Taking advantage of my performing arts networks and the fact that there are so many incredible artists here in South East Queensland, I wanted to build a community that appreciates local arts and the talent that is right here in our own back yard,” Carberry says.

The Sideshow West End Fringe Program is remarkably diverse and inclusive. It features the Yossa Haile Band playing Ethiopian jazz, the experimental circus act Redlight Distancing with young and LGBT+ performers and an adaptive act featuring Lauren Watson a performer with a disability, and First Nation artists performing music (Coedie Ochre Warrah McCarthy) and dance (Dancing Water). It also combines a balanced mix of emerging and established artists such as beatboxer Tom Thum and the Shenzo Gregorio Quartet.

Make sure to follow Sideshow and David Carberry in this fringe-like journey.