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Fringe Top Tips: How To Fringe For Less Than £12 A Day

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Is it possible to do the Fringe for less than £12 a day? We got our team on the case to see if it can be done.

One of many great things about the Fringe is that you get to pick and choose what you want to see, making it easy to set yourself your own budget. So let’s test it. Here are a few suggestions of fun activities for the first weekend, to see if we can keep costs below an average of £12 a day.

Day 1

Morning

Start off your weekend with a visit to Art-House-Life. Located at 35 Madeira Road which has been transformed from a residential home to an amazing gallery space, holding selected local, national and international artists and their innovative and exploratory lens-based media. Ensure to book to experience the wonders of their art for free!

Afternoon

Release your own artistic side, and head down to Ventnor Park where you can find loads to do including Art in the Park. Whilst getting creative with the provided easels and materials, enjoy the amazing music at the Bandstand, all for free.

Evening

Head over to The Magpie for a laugh for the 2023 Sky Edinburgh Comedy Award winner, Ahir Shah. For £16, you can watch his stand up show Ends, about family, immigration, marriage, history, politics and beans. 

Running total at the end of Day 1: £16

Day 2

Morning

Start your day at the Maker’s Market at St. Catherine’s church, and browse the stalls of all kinds of makers including, art, jewellery, crafts and cosmetics. Outside of the church is where you can also find the book bus. A 1930’s Parisian bus as well as a book market, home to many books where you can pick up a book from just £5. Why not head over the road and treat yourself to a coffee and Ventnor Exchange for just over £3.

Afternoon

Continue on to Ventnor Putting Green to watch ‘The Guy In The Luggage Rack’. A free show where you will  experience the silly to the sublime to the scary to the ridiculous. This is a  performance by She Said Jump, about Daisy facing the grief from her mother’s death.

Evening

Soak up the atmosphere for the rest of the day at the Fringe Village and enjoy some free jazz music in the Nest from 7 to 9pm. Finishing your day off at the Big Top bar with a DJ set from Coco Phono, which is also free entry.

Running total at the end of Day 2: £24  

Day 3

Morning

Check out the Place of Safety at La Falaise Carpark Shelter on Ventnor seafront cliffs, a temporary art installation exploring the themes of belonging, comfort, and shelter through paint from public workshops which have been collected into a final 3D piece.

Afternoon

Bring a project to work on and head over to The Flowerbrook Inn, for the free sewing workshop and social club. Make use of the materials and sewing machines available and chat with other crafters whilst enjoying a relaxing sewing session. 

Evening

Explore the natural beauty of Ventnor and take a trip down to Steephill Cove and take in the breathtaking view and enjoy the peaceful beach. Then finish off the weekend with one of the top 3 Rising Stars of the Fringe 2024, Adam Flood at Ingrams Yard, for only £9.

Grand Total spent over three days: £33

Tips For Keeping Costs Down

1.) £2 Bus Fares

Bus prices are currently capped at £2 per journey, so save yourself the fuel and parking costs and head to Ventnor on the bus. This year there is also a shuttle bus connecting the town and Fringe Village in Ventnor Park. 

2.) Invest in a Culture Pass 

If you’re planning to see a lot of shows and you’re good at booking in advance, it might be worth investing in a Culture Pass which costs £35 and gets you access to loads of ‘2for1’ deals. 

4.) Bring your friends along!

Many shows offer discounts for groups, so bring your family or friends along with you and make some big savings.

5.) Free Fringe 

Grab a copy of the Fringe Review paper from Ventnor Exchange or any of the main venues for daily listings of the free events taking place around the festival. There is live music performances in the Fringe Village and Fringe Square everyday. 

By Eleanor Newton

Fringe Top Tips: Your Top 20 FAQ Answered!

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How close together are the festival venues? What’s a Culture Pass, and can I bring my dog? We answer your most frequently asked questions!

Today we’ve looked through the email and phone logs to put together the ultimate list of the most frequently asked questions with answers to them all! Got a question that’s not been listed? Feel free to get in touch by sending us an email or calling the box office. 

Ticketing 

Is there a single ‘all inclusive’ Ventnor Fringe ticket? 

No, all events at Ventnor Fringe are ticketed individually so you can pick and choose whatever you’d like to see, and set your own budget. There are also loads of free shows and events to explore.

Why isn’t there the option for an all inclusive Ventnor Fringe ticket? 

Partly because the size of different venues varies considerably. Our smallest venue has a capacity of 10, and the largest 500, so we couldn’t guarantee which shows you could get into!

Secondly, the majority of the money from every ticket sold goes directly to the artist you are watching, so in choosing who to see you’re deciding who to support. Artists who do well are likely to return so the audience helps shape what the programme of the festival will look like. 

Do you charge booking fees?

No, we’re very proud to be one of the few events not to charge any booking fees at all. 

Can I get a refund/cancel my booking?

From the moment that the transaction is completed, all Ventnor Fringe tickets are non-refundable unless a show is cancelled or the particulars of the show change in a substantial way (For example, the date of the performance is changed) that results in you being unable or unwilling to attend, in which case we will let you know and reimburse the price of the tickets as soon as possible.

Can I amend by booking?

Tickets can be changed for a different date of the same show but will incur a £1 fee per ticket. This can only be done over the phone or in person at Ventnor Exhange of the Fringe Village Box Office Tent. Unfortunately we can’t exchange tickets for different shows.

 

Do I need to print my tickets?

In general when booking in person, over the phone or online you will be sent ‘e-tickets’ to the email address you provide. We do not post physical tickets in an effort to reduce waste.

All Ventnor Fringe venues will accept digital copies displayed on a phone or tablet to avoid you having to print tickets at home. If you loose your tickets you will need to show ID to be allowed entry. This must be a Passport, Driving Licence or Pass Card.

Physical tickets are available on request when booking in person from Ventnor Exchange if you do require these. 

 

Do babies need tickets?

You do not need to book tickets for babies ‘in arms’ who will be allowed into performances for free. Anyone who requires a seat will require a ticket. Generally we consider this to be those aged 2+ 

Do you offer concession prices?

Each individual show decides its own ticket prices and any concessions they want to offer. There are often discounts for children (normally this is offered right up to those aged under 25) and group bookings. 

Can I book tickets on the door?

Tickets can be booked online right up until the event, or until they sell out! If buying in person you can book tickets during the event from Ventnor Exchange or the Fringe Village Ticket Tent at the main entrance to Ventnor Park. You cannot buy tickets on the doors of individual venues except for ‘Pay What You Can’ shows.

At The Event 

Are age restrictions for events enforced? 

For theatre, comedy and arts events the age ratings of 5+, 12+ and 16+ are given as guidance to help parents, but we allow audiences to make informed decisions about what they feel is appropriate. 

For some standing gigs in the Big Top there is an age rating of 16+ and those aged under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Events which are 18+ will be enforced and ID may be required. This includes some gigs, comedy, cabaret and burlesque shows.

Can I walk between the different venues?

Most venues are centred within a 10-15mins walk from the town centre, or in the Fringe Village, which is located at Ventnor Park, approx 20mins walk from the town. 

There are a small number of ‘pop up’ venues and events slightly further apart. It’s about 40mins walk from Bonchurch (furthest east) to Ventnor Botanic Garden (furthest west) 

Will the event go ahead if the weather is bad?

The vast majority of ticketed events at Ventnor Fringe take place indoors or in tented venues and so cancellations due to poor weather are exceptionally rare. Open air shows will also generally go ahead during light showers.

If a venue is forced to close and shows are cancelled all ticket holders will be offered the option to change to a different day, if applicable or full refunds.

I’m going to arrive late, is that ok?

If you arrive late for an event for which you have tickets, you may not be allowed to enter. The venue decides whether or not to admit latecomers. It is your responsibility to arrive before or at the advertised start time. No refunds will be granted for refusal of entry to an event due to late arrival on the part of the customer.

Ventnor is particularly busy during the festival, and this affects travel times so please make sure you have enough time to get to your show. Often it will be quicker to walk than drive between venues. 

Can I bring my dog?

Well behaved dogs are welcome in all outdoor areas, bars and box offices. However only guide dogs are allowed into performance venues.  

Please note dogs will not be allowed in St Catherine’s Church for The Maker’s Market this year.

Are there any free events?

Yes, there are loads of free events taking place everyday as well as exhibitions and buskers round the town. When in doubt good locations to head to are the Fringe Square, outside St Catherine’s Church, Ingrams Yard on Dudley Road and the Fringe Village in Ventnor Park.

You can check out listings for free events (more being added all the time) here

Culture Pass

What is the Culture Pass?

If you’re going to see a lot of shows at the festival it might be worth becoming a Culture Pass holder. This costs £35/year and gets you ‘2for1’ discounts to lots of events at the Fringe. You can see which events offer this to decide if it would be good value for money on the booking pages of our website.  

Once signed up you’ll be sent a special link to use when booking tickets. Please also make sure you book using the same name and email address that you signed up to Culture Pass with or your tickets may be void. The second person you take can be whoever you like!

What is an Unlimited Pass?

Unlimited Pass is similar to Culture Pass but offers more benefits and is designed for those who want to support Ventnor Exchange and our work. It costs £9.99/month or £14.99/month for a ‘Duo’ pass and gets you free entry to all shows at Ventnor Exchange throughout the year, as well as to a selection of events at Ventnor Fringe.  

Access

Do you offer any free tickets for personal assistants? What accessible facilities are there? 

Yes we do and we’ve created a dedicated page with information about this available here. If you have any feedback or feel there are things we could do to make the event more accessible we’d love to hear your feedback. We can be contacted by email (hello@vfringe.co.uk) phone (01983 716767) or in person at Ventnor Exchange which is open everyday from 10am.  

Where can I park? Is there a shuttle bus?

Yes! This year our new park and ride and shuttle bus service will be running throughout the festival. We have a dedicated car park at Ventnor Rugby Football Club, Watcombe Bottom, Whitewell Road, PO38 1LP. 

The shuttle bus will run between Watcombe Bottom, Ventnor Park, Ventnor Botanic Garden and the Town Centre, connecting up all of the main venues. It will run from midday to midnight every day (except Monday 22nd) departing from Watcome Bottom at quarter to and quarter past the hour. 

How much does it cost?

Parking at Watcombe Bottom costs £5 per day, per car. You can pay for this when you get on the shuttle bus.

All single journeys on the shuttle bus cost £2 or you can purchase an unlimited bus pass for the whole Fringe for £20 per person. 

You don’t have to use the parking to be able to use the shuttle bus service, just buy your ticket from the driver when you get on the bus. 

What Even Is a Fringe Festival?

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What’s in a name? We thought it was about time we answered this age old question we hear every year. And no, it isn’t to do with haircuts!

So what exactly is a Fringe Festival? We asked Co-Director Jack Whitewood to explain;

“Fringe festivals around the world are largely inspired by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which is the original event with that name. It was coined by a local journalist to describe events taking place ‘on the fringes’ of the city, which had no clear central organiser or curator.

To this day the ethos of the Fringe is that anybody can bring a show to the festival and at Ventnor we’re the same. We have local amateur dramatic companies right up alongside established names you’ll have seen on TV, its a level playing field where anyone can test out new material and this is why fringe festivals are so significant in being a launching pad for new talent.”

The Edinburgh event started back in 1947 and just like Ventnor, the very first box office was run from a student’s bedroom!

It’s where so much of our screen and stage talent have started their careers, including national treasures like Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman and Rowan Atkinson. More recently streaming services like Netflix are filled with comedy specials with stand ups performing their Edinburgh routine, and dramas which started life as plays at the festival like Fleabag and Baby Reindeer are now hit series. Over the years talent which started life at the Fringe has gone on to have a huge influence on our popular culture.

And while some 60,000 or so revelers have just partied at the Isle of Wight Festival, at Edinburgh upwards of 2.5 million tickets are sold each year in an event which lasts for the entire month of August!

These days there are many fringe festivals all around the world; with Adelaide, Edmonton and Brighton being some of the biggest.

Some take place alongside traditional arts festivals with a programme that is booked or curated by an organiser, but others like Ventnor are stand alone events in their own right.

And while there are some differences in how each Fringe operate, the common thread is that there isn’t a single person or committee that decides on who can or should perform, that there is some level of open access. It’s this which gives the unpredictability and eccentricity that fringe festivals are famous for and what leads to such a broad range of different shows. 

At Ventnor income from tickets sold for events is shared between the festival and the artists, meaning whichever shows you choose to go to directly supports those artists.

This year Ventnor Fringe celebrates 15 years since its first event…

…so while it’s still a baby in relation to institutions like Edinburgh, is has over the years seen all sorts of actors, comedians and musicians tread our broads, some of whom have gone on to win MOBO’s, BRIT’s, Writers Guild and Edinburgh Comedy Awards.

And for those who find an event the size of Edinburgh overwhelming, Ventnor offers an intimate alternative, while still hosting nearly 150 different shows, with a unique holiday type experience. 

So now you know, the Fringe is a unique type of festival that appeals to all sorts of people, where you can choose exactly what you want to see and how much you want to spend. Take a look at the programme, explore Ventnor’s windy streets and beautiful parks and enjoy 10 days of the unexpected in a truly unique setting. 

Ventnor Fringe: Top 9 Fastest Selling Shows!

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It’s early days, but there are some tickets that are so hot they don’t hang about for long! Today we reveal our rundown of the 9 fastest selling shows of 2024 so far. 

For this list we’re looking at the shows closest to selling out, rather than highest total number of tickets sold, as venue sizes vary greatly and this is a more important indicator of which will sell out first. If you see something you like on this list you best get booking those tickets sharpish!

1.) Ahir Shah: Ends

Friday 19th July 2024 /7.30pm-8.30pm at The Magpie

Ahir Shah returns to Ventnor Fringe with Ends: a stand-up show about family, immigration, marriage, history, politics, and beans. He presented the show as work in progress at last year’s festival before going on to win the Sky Edinburgh Comedy Award for Best Show – essentially the Oscars of Comedy! Check out a sample of the reviews here.

A unique blend of comedy and heartfelt reflections that’s not to be missed

BOOK TICKETS

2.) Back To Black: The Music of Amy Winehouse 

Friday 19th & Saturday 20th July 2024 / 8.30pm – 10.20pm at The Big Top

Last year The Aretha Franklin Story was receiving rave reviews around town, so it’s no surprise tickets are selling fast for this new show from Night Owl.

This new show comes to the Island on the back of sell out runs at Edinburgh, Brighton and Adelaide Fringes. Back To Black: The Music Of Amy Winehouse takes you on a moving yet energising journey through the career of a modern legend. This captivating show is delivered in the Night Owl trademark ‘show-umentary’ format giving a fascinating insight into Amy’s sharp rise to fame and stardom.

Experience the hits delivered by the dynamic and soulful Reine Beau Anderson Dudley.

Includes Back To Black, Valerie, Rehab, Me & Mr Jones, Monkey Man and many more.

Book Tickets

Janine Harouni is one of the acts playing Pick of the Fringe. You can also catch her solo show here.

3.) Pick of the Fringe

Friday 19th – Sunday 21st July 2023 / 9.15pm -11pm at The Magpie

A bit of a Fringe institution. This is a mixed bill of stand up comedy from a selection of some of the funniest acts at this year’s Ventnor Fringe, curated and hosted by Edinburgh Comedy Award Winner Ahir Shah (Live at the Apollo, The Mash Report, BBC 2)

Back for a fourth year this time with a brand new line up each night, following completely sold out shows in 2021, 2022 and 2023. It’s a great night out at the Fringe and a good introduction to the festival if you’re not sure what to see.

BOOK TICKETS

4.) Eat, Slay, Love – A Quivers Stand Up Show

Sunday 28th July / 9.15pm – 10.30pm at The Magpie

What do you get when you give an adult with a clown face a microphone and space to share their innermost thoughts? This show…Winner of the Ventnor Fringe Audience Choice Award, 2023.

When it seems everyone around you is managing their journey of becoming a fully functioning human person, with responsibilities and kids and meal prepping and matching socks, where does someone who can barely remember to tie their laces find their place in it all? Join Quivers as they spiral out of control, and talk relationships, proper jobs, fitting in, inner peace, and ponder what being an adult actually means. Like an existential crisis on stage… y’know, with jokes!

Since 2020, Quivers has been performing to crowds across the South Coast, producing unique solo shows and spreading their own brand of humour. Debuting their first full stand up hour at Ventnor Fringe in 2022, Quivers went on to win the Audience Choice Award for Eat, Slay, Love in 2023.

BOOK TICKETS

5.) Hunter Davies – The Beatles

Sunday 21st July 2024 / 4.30pm – 6pm at Ventnor Arts Club

Returning following a sold out event in 2023. Hunter is the only authorised biographer of The Beatles. He spent two years with them between 1966 and 1968, at their homes and the Abbey Road Studio when they were making Sergeant Pepper. This will also be an opportunity to see an unreleased short film of Paul and Linda on holiday with Hunter and his family in Portugal in 1968.

BOOK TICKETS

6.) Shaparak Khorsandi: Scatter Brain (Work In Progress)

Thursday 25th July 2024 /9.15pm – 10.15pm at The Magpie

Having reassessed her life through the prism of an ADHD diagnosis in last year’s funny and moving memoir, one of Britain’s most beloved and most scatterbrained stand-ups lets you back into her mind (warning: it’s cluttered in there). Among other things, this show will be a love-letter to letter-writing, a trip back through her early years as a comic and woman-about-town, and a whirlwind tour of a chaotic, hilarious brain.

BOOK TICKETS

7.) Richard Pulsford: Get Rich Quick

Thursday 25th – Saturday 27th July 2024/ 7.30pm-8.30pm at Ventnor Arts Club 

A show packed full of quality one-liners, wordplay and puns.

You Must Be Joke King Winner 2024. UK Pun Championships Winner 2022. Scottish Comedian of the Year runner-up 2021. Nominated Best stand-up Buxton Fringe 2023. Top Ten Jokes of Edinburgh Fringe 2019, 2021 & 2022. As seen on Channel 4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch.

BOOK TICKETS

8.)Plastic Jeezus: Leave Them Wanting Less

Saturday 20th July 2024/7.30pm – 8.30pm at Ventnor Arts Club

Winners of ‘South Coast Comedian of the Year’, Simon & Aaron are Plastic Jeezus – a deadpan, ukulele-totin’ musical comedy duo. They have been making waves up & down the country with their hilarious & often surreal original songs, all delivered in their own unique, straight-faced way. ‘Plastic Jeezus – Leave Them Wanting Less’ sold out at Leicester Comedy Festival. Go and see what the fuss is all about!

BOOK TICKETS

9.) Jack’s Comedy Club

Friday 26th July 2023 / 7pm-8.30pm at Flowersbrook Inn

After a sold out show at the Ventnor Fringe 2023 and placing as runner up in the Audience Choice Award Jack’s Comedy Club is back again!

Headlining the event is Russell Hicks, known for his appearances on the TV show The Stand-up Sketch Show. Supporting acts include Keefy, Callum Gohrisch, and Geet Chawla, with the event hosted by resident compere Jack Clay. Please note that lineups may be subject to change.

BOOK TICKETS

Quivers Wins Audience Choice Award!

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Popular Island drag artist Quivers has been revealed as the winner of the Ventnor Fringe’s Rouse Ltd Audience Choice Award, winning the coveted trophy and £500 prize.

Over 1,200 votes were received in the annual competition for audiences favourite act at the festival, with runners up including EarsPeeled and Jack Clay’s Comedy Club. 

Artist Registrations Now Open

Ventnor Fringe will be returning for its special 15th edition this year from 19th-28th July and artist registrations are now open for anyone who would like to bring a show to this year’s festival.

Modelled on a famous Edinburgh Fringe, hundreds of performers took part in 2023, spanning circus, theatre, comedy, cabaret, music and visual arts, in pop up venues and spaces throughout Ventnor and a new box office record was set, with 12,000 tickets sold. 

‘Fringe’ Festivals are open to anyone to take part, both amateur and professional, and in particular are popular as spaces to test out new material. Co-Director Jack Whitewood explained “We were really excited to see big names like Richard Herring and Sophie Ducker testing out new material last year, as well as Ahir Shah going on to win the Edinburgh Comedy Award, following a work in progress preview in Ventnor” 

Other alumni of the festival have gone on to win MOBO’s, Grammys and Writers Guild Awards as well as commissions for Netflix, BBC and ITV.

This year, an Artists Handbook has been published providing lots of advice and information about how the festival operates and artists are reminded to apply before the deadline of 31st March 2024. Find out more at: vfringe.co.uk

Fringe Top Tips: Music Picks

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With so much choice it can be difficult to decide what to see! To help, Sam from Ventnor Exchange has picked out a few musical acts for when you want to get your groove on!

Earspeeled are back for the second year running after their sold out success last year with their Day at the Fringe show: a day festival within a festival! Headlined by Coventry based alt/indie band FEET, and featuring Fizzy Orange and Grandma’s House (both of which have graced the stage at Strings Bar & Venue), as well as Island favourites The Optimists, Froglands PK, and so many more. This isn’t one to be missed! – Saturday 22nd July 2pm-11pm at the Big Top (TICKETS)

BC Camplight

Following the release of his sixth studio album, The Last Rotation of Earth (available instore at the Ventnor Exchange or online on our website!), Philadelphian indie rocker BC Camplight makes his debut performance on the Island. With support from pianist, rapper, and Ventnor native Jay Eatwell after his breakout performance on Channel 4’s The Piano, this will be a Saturday night to remember! – Saturday 29th July 8pm-11pm at the Big Top (TICKETS)

Gengahr

Gengahr, purveyors of some of indie’s catchiest earworms, will arrive at the Big Top with one goal in mind: to get you dancing! Following the recent release of their fourth studio album Red Sun Titans (available instore at the Ventnor Exchange or online on our website!), this gig is for fans of upbeat, trippy indie pop/rock, à la Alt-J, Foals, or Bombay Bicycle Club. – Friday 28th July 8pm-11pm at the Big Top (TICKETS)

The Aretha Franklin Story

Brought to you by British R&B/soul vocalist Cleopatra Higgins, The Aretha Franklin Story will take you on a high energy journey through the life and career of one of the biggest voices in the history of popular music. After sell out shows at Edinburgh Fringe four years running, as well as similar runs at Adelaide and Brighton Fringe, show some R.E.S.P.E.C.T. and don’t miss out!

Friday 28th July, Saturday 29th July, & Sunday 30th July 3pm-5pm at the Big Top (TICKETS)

The Cat Skellington Quartet

Take as close to an authentic trip back to 1920s France as you can get without a time machine with Isle of Wight gypsy jazz wonders The Cat Skellington Quartet as they dazzle you with a mix of classic Django Reinhardt/Stéphane Grappelli repertoire as well as a selection of early American jazz rarities. The beautiful setting of St. Catherine’s Church will allow you to fully appreciate the incredible musicianship on display here as you are immersed in the delicate sounds of acoustic instruments played at an extremely high level.

Saturday 29th July 7:30-9pm at St. Catherine’s Church (TICKETS)

Fringe Top Tips: Sold Out Artists Share Their Favourite Shows

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We caught up with 5 acts with sold out shows at this year’s Fringe to hear their recommendations for what else to see at the festival. If anyone has good tips, it’s good to be these folks!

It can be annoying when shows sell out, but with so many different performances on offer there is always something to see at Ventnor Fringe, and sometimes it’s an act you’ve not heard of that becomes your favourite of the festival.

Benji Waterstones is an NHS psychiatrist and award-winning comedian who’s show ‘You Don’t Have To Be Mad To Work Here’ was one of the very first to sell out this year. His top pick? “I’d say Vittorio Angelone, and not just because he’s a good egg who I play football with. He’s like the Matt Le Tissier of comedy; bags of natural talent, no censor, and only ever moments away from controversy. ” Vittorio is an Italian-Irish comedian from Belfast. In 2022 he sold out his debut run at the Edinburgh Fringe and was nominated for Best Newcomer at the prestigious Dave Comedy Awards. 

Ahir Shah is a bit of a Ventnor veteran, performing at Ventnor Exchange and the Fringe many times over the years. He’s back with a full length solo show for the first time since 2019, which has predictably sold out ahead of the festival (although you can still get tickets see Pick of the Fringe which he curates and hosts)

Ahir told us “There are a bunch of fantastic comedians appearing at the Ventnor Fringe, and not enough space to recommend all of them, so I thought I’d recommend a show I won’t be able to see but wish I could: Sara Barron: Why Am I Mean To My Mom?” Sara is a staggeringly funny and engaging comedian, as those who’ve seen her before or listened to her podcast Firecrotch & Normcore will know. Also we had a conversation a couple of years ago during which she described the process of falling in love with her husband, and it was so beautiful and perfect that I still think about it two or three times a week. That probably won’t be in the show though, I imagine she’ll just call him a dick and then describe a time she was mean – to her very own mom!”

Sally Perry is a local journalist from OnTheWight which last year teamed up with the Book Bus to bring together an expert panel of entrepreneurs, comedians and weirdos to crack ‘The Secret to Happiness’. This year’s follow up ‘How To Survive The Apocalypse’ sounds altogether darker, maybe that’s why ticket sold out so quick!

Sally explained “There is so much to choose from that it makes picking one act really hard, but I would have to say Bromance. Just from seeing Thorne perform previously on his cyr wheel is enough motivation to want to check out this five star circus about camaraderie and affection. The photos from the performance give you a flavour of how exhilarating a show it’s going to be.

Jake Oldershaw grew up on the Island before moving away to run theatre collective Untied Artists. In ‘The Head Gardener’ he returns to the Island in a collaboration with his brother Warren, exploring personal tales of why gardening is so important for mental health; design, draught and bring to life a unique and beautiful garden. It’s fully booked but Jake’s top tip is The Aretha Franklin Story’ in the Big Top.  “Despite doing VFringe a few times we’ve never got into that venue, and this promises to be a soulful delight. It’s fantastic that Ventnor is attracting tried and tested shows like this one.”

Finally we caught up with Joe Plumb, who has hit the hat trick selling out his show for a third year in a row! Another original creation inspired by local idiosyncrasies ‘Bob – The Half A Sausage Musical’ explores a certain famous person on the Isle of Wight.

When we asked Joe Plumb who he’d recommend he replied instantly “The hardest working performer on the Island, Quivers is back at Ventnor Fringe with a hilarious new stand up show all about the struggles of adulting! I love how Quivers packs their shows with the silliest one-liners, side-splitting songs and then, when you’re not looking, tackles some big issues that can really hit home. Pop on your best leopard print top and sparkly shoes, grab a bottle of Prosecco with the gal pals and get some of this. I cannot recommend Eat, Slay, Love- a Quivers Stand Up Show enough- it’s so good, I might even go and watch!”

So there you have it, personal recommendations and top picks from a collection of this year’s most popular artists.

Fringe Top Tips: 6 Great Shows For Families

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Bringing children or grandchildren to the Fringe? Check out this pick of 6 family shows we’re particularly excited about!

For this list we’ve put together shows we think would work well for both younger children and early teens as well as being something parents and grandparents can enjoy so there’s really something for everyone on a full family day out!

Witty Look

Winner of Japan’s Children and Performing Arts Expo 2019 and featuring a former Unicycle World Champion, WITTY LOOK are taking the world by storm, with a show that fuses circus with Manga cartoons to deliver a masterclass in the universal language of laughter. 

Saturday 22nd – Sunday 23rd July / 14:30hrs / The Magpie / Book Tickets

Happy Daze Circus

Returning for a third year, come and experience a circus spectacular from Let’s Circus! Witness feats of skill, strength and awe, in a feel good cabaret to feed the soul, perfect for all ages.

The international cast returns with both familiar and new faces (Including a certain balloon act) in a brand new show! Two time Ventnor Fringe Audience Choice Award Nominees.

The company are also running FREE circus workshops. 

Tuesday 25th – Saturday 29th July / 14:30hrs  + 17:30hrs on Sat / The Magpie / Book Tickets

SESKA

When Seska comes to town, kids laugh out loud, dads f*rt out loud, and mums faint at his feet! Crazier than finding a penguin in your fridge, turbo-charged Seska throws buckets of happiness into the air in this brilliantly inventive magic show for all ages. Entertaining crowds from Mumbai to Trinidad, and a firm favourite at Ventnor Fringe for many years!

Saturday 29th – Sunday 30th July / 12:00hrs / The Nest / Book Tickets

Darryl J. Carrington presents “Out of the Box”

Prepare to be amazed and entertained with ‘Out of the Box,’ a show that pushes the boundaries of traditional circus and takes audiences on a journey through a world of imagination and wonder.

In ‘Out of the Box,’ Darryl brings his unique style and vision to the stage, incorporating everything from traditional circus skills to modern technology to create a truly innovative and captivating performance. His juggling routines are both skillful and hilarious, and his comedic timing and physical comedy leave audiences in stitches.

Friday 28th – Sunday 30th July / 11:00hrs / The Big Top / Book Tickets

St Catherine’s Gigantic Gala

A family friendly extravaganza featuring artists from across the festival in a special variety show aimed at all ages including children. This is a relaxed performance.

Performers include magician Angus Baskerville, a Warwickshire based performer who has ADHD and autism and magic has been his vehicle to triumph over adversity.

Even better, all proceeds from this event will be donated to St Catherine’s School, a Ventnor based charity that provides specialist care, education and therapy to young people with speech, language and communication needs.

Sunday 30th July / 17:00hrs / The Magpie / Book Tickets

Peter Pan

Join Slapstick Picnic for a theatrical treat like no other as they whip up a three hander version of JM Barrie’s classic play Peter Pan.

Let your imagination soar as we dish out this timeless tale of hapless pirates, feral children and a particularly punctual reptile. This show isn’t just for kids, our brilliant buffoonery will have picnickers of all ages cackling into their coleslaw. Trust us, this is one flight of fancy you don’t want to miss.

Sunday 30th July / 14:30hrs & 19:30hrs / The Magpie / Book Tickets

Fringe Top Tips: Your Top 17 FAQ Answered!

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How close together are the festival venues? What’s a Culture Pass, and can I bring my dog? We answer your most frequently asked questions!

Today we’ve looked through the email and phone logs to put together the ultimate list of the most frequently asked questions with answers to them all! Got a question that’s not been listed? Feel free to get in touch by sending us an email or calling the box office. 

Ticketing 

Is there a single ‘all inclusive’ Ventnor Fringe ticket? 

No, all events at Ventnor Fringe are ticketed individually so you can pick and choose whatever you’d like to see, and set your own budget. There are also loads of free shows and events to explore.

Why isn’t there the option for an all inclusive Ventnor Fringe ticket? 

Partly because the size of different venues varies considerably. Our smallest venue has a capacity of 10, and the largest 500, so we couldn’t guarantee which shows you could get into!

Secondly, the majority of the money from every ticket sold goes directly to the artist you are watching, so in choosing who to see you’re deciding who to support. Artists who do well are likely to return so the audience helps shape what the programme of the festival will look like. 

Do you charge booking fees?

No, we’re very proud to be one of the few events not to charge any booking fees at all. 

Can I get a refund/cancel my booking?

From the moment that the transaction is completed, all Ventnor Fringe tickets are non-refundable unless a show is cancelled or the particulars of the show change in a substantial way (For example, the date of the performance is changed) that results in you being unable or unwilling to attend, in which case we will let you know and reimburse the price of the tickets as soon as possible.

Can I amend by booking?

Tickets can be changed for a different date of the same show but will incur a £1 fee per ticket. This can only be done over the phone or in person at Ventnor Exhange of the Fringe Village Box Office Tent. Unfortunately we can’t exchange tickets for different shows.

 

Do I need to print my tickets?

In general when booking in person, over the phone or online you will be sent ‘e-tickets’ to the email address you provide. We do not post physical tickets in an effort to reduce waste.

All Ventnor Fringe venues will accept digital copies displayed on a phone or tablet to avoid you having to print tickets at home. If you loose your tickets you will need to show ID to be allowed entry. This must be a Passport, Driving Licence or Pass Card.

Physical tickets are available on request when booking in person from Ventnor Exchange if you do require these. 

 

Do babies need tickets?

You do not need to book tickets for babies ‘in arms’ who will be allowed into performances for free. Anyone who requires a seat will require a ticket. Generally we consider this to be those aged 2+ 

Do you offer concession prices?

Each individual show decides its own ticket prices and any concessions they want to offer. There are often discounts for children (normally this is offered right up to those aged under 25) and group bookings. 

Can I book tickets on the door?

Tickets can be booked online right up until the event, or until they sell out! If buying in person you can book tickets during the event from Ventnor Exchange or the Fringe Village Box Office tent at the main entrance to Ventnor Park. You cannot buy tickets on the doors of individual venues except for ‘Pay What You Can’ shows and the Silent Disco. 

At The Event 

Are age restrictions for events enforced? 

For theatre, comedy and arts events the age ratings of 5+, 12+ and 16+ are given as guidance to help parents, but we allow audiences to make informed decisions about what they feel is appropriate. 

For some standing gigs in the Big Top there is an age rating of 16+ and those aged under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Events which are 18+ will be enforced and ID may be required. This includes some gigs, comedy, cabaret and burlesque shows.

Can I walk between the different venues?

Most venues are centred within a 10-15mins walk from the town centre, or in the Fringe Village, which is located at Ventnor Park, approx 20mins walk from the town. 

There are a small number of ‘pop up’ venues and events slightly further apart. It’s about 40mins walk from Bonchurch (furthest east) to Ventnor Botanic Garden (furthest west) 

I’m going to arrive late, is that ok?

If you arrive late for an event for which you have tickets, you may not be allowed to enter. The venue decides whether or not to admit latecomers. It is your responsibility to arrive before or at the advertised start time. No refunds will be granted for refusal of entry to an event due to late arrival on the part of the customer.

Ventnor is particularly busy during the festival, and this affects travel times so please make sure you have enough time to get to your show. Often it will be quicker to walk than drive between venues. 

Can I bring my dog?

Well behaved dogs are welcome in all outdoor areas, bars and box offices. However only guide dogs are allowed into performance venues.  

Please note dogs will not be allowed in St Catherine’s Church for The Maker’s Market this year.

Are there any free events?

Yes, there are loads of free events taking place everyday as well as exhibitions and buskers round the town. When in doubt good locations to head to are the Fringe Square, outside St Catherine’s Church, and the Fringe Village in Ventnor Park.

You can check out listings for free events (more being added all the time) here

Culture Pass

What is the Culture Pass?

If you’re going to see a lot of shows at the festival it might be worth becoming a Culture Pass holder. This costs £29.99/year and gets you ‘2for1’ discounts to lots of events at the Fringe. You can see which events offer this to decide if it would be good value for money on the booking pages of our website.  

When booking with the Culture Pass discount you need to make sure you book using the same name and email address that you signed up with or your tickets may be void. The second person you take can be whoever you like!

What is an Unlimited Pass?

Unlimited Pass is similar to Culture Pass but offers more benefits and is designed for those who want to support Ventnor Exchange and our work. It costs £9.99/month or £14.99/month for a ‘Duo’ pass and gets you free entry to all shows at Ventnor Exchange throughout the year, as well as to a selection of events at Ventnor Fringe.  

Access

Do you offer any free tickets for personal assistants? What accessible facilities are there? 

Yes we do and we’ve created a dedicated page with information about this available here. If you have any feedback or feel there are things we could do to make the event more accessible we’d love to hear your feedback. We can be contacted by email (hello@vfringe.co.uk) phone (01983 716767) or in person at Ventnor Exchange which is open everyday from 10am.  

Backstage Opportunities for 14-25 Year Olds

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Aged 14-25 and want to go behind the scenes and work backstage? We’ve teamed up with Brave Island to offer some amazing opportunities 

Brave Island is an online platform created by Ventnor Exchange to provide mentoring, funding, experiences and training for young people interested in the creative industries. With over 350 members it’s the creative network for young people on the Isle of Wight.

Join The Fringe Review Team!

14-17 Year Olds 

Aged 14-17 and interested in going backstage at Ventnor Fringe Festival? We’re offering the chance to watch a load of shows, explore the festival, and meet performers, all for free! As a member of the Fringe Review Team you’ll work in a small group to produce a podcast and online content about your experiences to be shared to Ventnor Fringe audiences.

Over the course of two days you’ll get free tickets to watch a variety of shows and learn all about how a festival works, as well as meeting artists, crew, staff, and performers who you’ll have the chance to interview.

You’ll be working together to create content for a podcast about your experience at Ventnor Fringe, as well as having the chance to write up some reviews/articles and social media posts. Your content will be published on Ventnor Fringe’s official website and social media!

This is a great opportunity to see loads of stuff for free, learn more about festivals and events, and make new friends!

Find out more and apply here

 

18-25 Year Olds 

For those aged over 18 we’re also offering the chance to join the Fringe Review team in a slightly different format. You’ll work in a small group to produce the Fringe Review Newspaper documenting your experiences, reviews and interviews, to be shared to Ventnor Fringe audiences.

Over the course of the festival, you’ll get to watch loads of different shows, as well as meeting artists, crew, staff, and performers who you’ll have the chance to interview. You’ll be using your time at Ventnor Fringe to put together content for the newspaper, which will be released every three days during the event.

We’ll create an itinerary for each day, but you’ll be given a press pass to give you free access to any of the events at Ventnor Fringe to be able to create content. You’ll have the freedom to go and explore the festival, with set meeting points throughout the day to come together with the rest of the team and put together your content for the newspaper.

Find out more and apply here

Darkfield Placements

Want to work backstage on a professional theatre production? We have two paid placements for 18-25 year olds interested in Set Design or Stage Management, working with renowned production company Darkfield, who create cutting edge immersive experiences inside shipping containers!

You’ll be working with the Darkfield team to create their new show ARCADE, which previews at Ventnor Fringe before transferring to Edinburgh.

Darkfield transform shipping containers into realistic sets, and use binaural 360 degree sound (3D audio), complete darkness and a variety of sensory effects, to put each audience member at the centre of an intense story. It’s like a mix between a theatre show, being inside a video game, and being on a ride.

Their new show, ARCADE, is inspired by the nostalgic 8-bit aesthetic of 1980’s video games, and explores themes of free will and the evolving relationship between players and avatars.

 

Paid Set Design Placement (18-25)

This placement is a great opportunity to develop some practical skills, contribute to the build of the show, and gain valuable real world experience working on an innovative new theatre show. You’ll be working with the build team to ensure the safe construction and install of a temporary venue. Throughout the process, you’ll work closely with the Production Manager following their guidance and adhering to safety protocols. This placement opportunity would provide you with practical experience in carpentry, construction techniques, and teamwork, allowing you to develop valuable skills in the field.

Your responsibilities during this placement will include:

Complete various scenic and painting tasks during the build process

Assisting with the build team to install the internal walls to the container

Work with the technical team to better understand the practical considerations when designing the set

Assist with the get in and placement of the ARCADE units during the get in

Assist with various other get in tasks as required

Assist with the get out and dismantling of internal build of the container

There is a set fee of £500, to cover your time and expenses. Find out more, including dates, and apply here 

 

Paid Stage Manager Placement 

This is a great opportunity to work as part of the technical team running the show, develop skills using show control technology, gain valuable real world experience working as part of the backstage team on an immersive theatre show. There’s no actors in this show, it all takes place through headphones and other sensory effects, your job responsibilities will include:

Participate in the get in and get out: loading/unloading the van, running in cables, helping check all the arcade machines work.

Shadow the technical manager working on the show, understand safety considerations during the performance, and learn the show running.

Run the rig check at the start of the day. Ensure all headphones, lights and arcade machines are working. Flag any issues or concerns with the technical manager.

Learn the power up and power down process – under supervision of the Technical Manager.

Participate in show reporting documentation

This is a paid role, with a day rate of £100 to cover your time and expenses. Find out more, including dates, and apply here 

Volunteer At The Fringe

Another great way to get involved with the festival is to volunteer! If your over 18 you can apply to join the team, with common roles including helping out in the Box Offices and Stewarding, helping audiences in and out of venues and ensuring shows start on time.

Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, feel more involved with the event and a way to see lots of different shows, including some you might not otherwise have chosen to go and see. 

You don’t have to be available for the whole duration of the festival. You can volunteer on any specific days or evenings that work for you. 

Sign up here