Interested in Starting a Fringe Festival?

CAFF improves access to professional artistic experiences in Canadian communities by facilitating the growth and stability of Canadian Fringe Festivals.  Fringe Festivals are Canadians’ most accessible source of diverse performing arts.  Fringe Festivals are focal points for the development of theatre in 22 communities in Canada. Starting a Fringe Festival will connect your community with a network of artists and theatre-supporters both in Canada and around the world.

What are the Benefits of Joining CAFF?

By joining CAFF, your Festival will become part of a touring circuit that features thousands of international artists. Your ability to attract national and international companies will dramatically increase.

CAFF-affiliated Festivals are keen to share ideas and information. Established Fringes are able to help newer Fringes in their early stages of development and provide concrete advice on everything from what questions to ask on your artist technical form to crowd control for your outdoor venues.

Membership in CAFF is not just about running a festival in your community.  Our members are active in our Association as part of several committees centered on issues of artist advocacy, sustainability, artist relations, and CAFF identity. These committees are energetically working to address issues facing our member festivals and the artists we serve, while also strengthening our presence as a leading and influential arts organization in Canada and beyond.

*Note: All Canadian-based performance festivals who wish to title themselves a “Fringe” or “Fringe Festival” must seek membership in CAFF.

The Basics

If you are interested in becoming a member of CAFF, consider your responses to the following questions:

  • Will your Festival be primarily based around indoor theatre productions?
  • Will your Festival allow for unrestricted artistic freedom in the performances?
  • Will applications from theatre companies be accepted through a lottery or on a first-come, first-served basis?
  • Will your Festival return 100 percent of the money generated from ticket sales to the artists themselves?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, then CAFF would love to see a proposal from your Festival.

How to Join CAFF: The Application Process

New applications to CAFF are reviewed at the organization’s Annual General Meeting, which is usually held in mid-November. Your application will be presented to the CAFF membership. The membership will then vote on whether or not to accept your Festival as a new CAFF member.

Applications received beyond this window of time will be reviewed by CAFF’s Executive and may be granted temporary membership in the Association, later being reviewed for formal acceptance at the next Annual General Meeting.

Our application process seeks to understand your Festival plans, how your Festival will fit into the CAFF circuit and community of existing festivals, and how you plan to run an event in line with the CAFF mandate and mission. You will also be asked for a preliminary budget. You will also be asked to send letters indicating community support and local artist support. Successful applicants demonstrate thorough planning, adequate preparation, and solid community support and buy-in.

Applicants should also consider issues around geography and timing. Familiarize yourself with existing CAFF festivals and consider how, when, and where you might fit into the CAFF circuit.

Please e-mail for more information about starting a Fringe Festival and/or to receive our application materials.