Melbourne Fringe


Melbourne Fringe 1982 – Today

Melbourne Fringe is the longest-running multi-arts festival in Victoria. Through creative programs and partnerships, Melbourne Fringe has consistently provided new and relevant ways of supporting artists and activating audiences.

1982 – Fringe Art Network is created after the closing of the Pram Factory

1983 – First Fringe Festival occurs presenting the work of 120 artists in 25 locations across Melbourne

1984 –Brunswick Street parade begins as an annual event promoting the Festival and the Fringe Arts Network and runs until 2001

1984 – Victorian Government investment begins. In 1984, the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds expanded and Melbourne’s Fringe Arts Network became the Melbourne Piccolo Spoleto Fringe Festival for the next three years.

1986 – Fringe Arts Network reclaims its independence from Spoleto and reorients itself as Melbourne Fringe.

1986 – Fringe Furniture exhibition begins and continues today be the longest-running Melbourne Fringe event.

1994 – First Key Message Partnership established with the TAC

1996 – Fringe Fashion Award begins and runs until 2001

1997 – Buzzcuts Program begins as a platform to publish reviews of Festival events and continues until 2016

1999 – Melbourne Fringe Hub model is created in North Melbourne and continues until 2018

1999 – The first Fringe Architecture exhibition begins and runs until 2001

2002 – Fringe Inventions begins and runs until 2004

2002 – Spencer Tunick photographs form the Festival’s keynote project

2006 – Digital Fringe begins and runs until 2010

2008 – Melbourne Fringe offices move from Easey Street to City Village in the City of Melbourne



2009 – Melbourne Fringe wins ABAF Australia Business Arts Marsh Partnering Award, 2009 presented to Melbourne Fringe for our partnership with Yarra Trams

2011 –Melbourne Fringe wins Tourism Victoria Award for Best Major Event or Festival

2011 – Economic Survey shows that Melbourne Fringe has an annual economic impact of over $12 million in the state of Victoria

2011 – Tour Ready Program begins

2012 – Melbourne Fringe in its 30th year is a 3 week-long Festival supporting the work of over 2000 artists in 150 locations across Melbourne

2013 – Melbourne Fringe On Tour, a new regional and outer-metropolitan program tours work from the Melbourne Fringe Festival, reaching eight regional performing arts centres and bringing independent work to new audiences

2013 – Melbourne Fringe invites digital artists, filmmakers and animators to participate in the Festival through Digital Creatures

2015 – Melbourne Fringe wins Melbourne Award for Contribution to Profile by a Community Organisation

2016 – Sky Light by Robin Fox is the Festival’s keynote project

2016 – Ralph Mclean Microgrants program launches, supporting participation by marginalised communities

2017 – With project partner ILBIJERRI Theatre Company, Melbourne Fringe instigates Deadly Fringe, unearthing and nurturing new First Nations performance works and mentoring First Nations emerging producers

2018 – The dedicated position of Access and Inclusion Coordinator is created as a commitment to supporting people who are Deaf or with disability

2018 – XS Program of experimental, contemporary and live art for children begins

2019 – Melbourne Fringe moves its Fringe Hub to Trades Hall and open a year-round venue, Fringe Common Rooms, to support independent artists

2020 – Melbourne Fringe puts on two festivals during the COVID-19 pandemic and amidst months of lockdown, including developing a bespoke digital platform Digital Fringe and orchestrating a mass socially distanced participatory dance event Multiply.