Fringe benefits for southside

Fringe founders Corinna Currie and Crawford Smith.
Fringe founders Corinna Currie and Crawford Smith.

FORGET the Edinburgh Fringe – there’s a new arts festival on the scene, and its roots are firmly planted in the southside.

The first Southside Fringe takes place May 10-26, showcasing homegrown talent in collaboration with the Southside Festival and Southside Film Festival, all running throughout the month.

For Fringe co-founder Crawford Smith, an increasing focus on south of the Clyde marks 2013 as “the year of the southside”.

Along with burlesque compère Corinna Currie (also known as Sarcassy Sneek), the musician has been toying with the idea for more than four years, but both decided that now was the perfect time to put the spotlight on their patch.

Crawford told The Extra: “Our Twitter name — Keep It South — underlines everything we’re doing.

“I started Southside Sessions a few years ago because I was sick of cycling home from the westend with my guitar on my back.

“It’s about creating cool events that we can enjoy in our area, and promoting what the southside has to offer.”

Corinna added: “There are so many people from the creative industry here. All of a sudden, more folk are hearing about them — through us, the Southside Festival or the Film Festival.

“The interest we’ve had so far has totally overwhelmed us — we thought we were ambitious aiming for 20 venues and maybe 40 events. It’s now in excess of 110 events.”

Paid for through a year’s fundraising activities — and money from the pockets of the organisers — the Fringe promises a positive impact on the southside economy, with gigs planned for a number of unexpected venues and arts fans already showing an interest in tickets.

The programme covers a wide range of genres, from film, magic and comedy to music, burlesque, street performance, art installations, ghost walks and guided tours — there’s even a show for dogs, should your four-legged friend show artistic tendencies.

Corinna commented: “We’ve had interest from big acts from elsewhere — a lot of people have replied to promotion running down south, and phoned us asking where is this southside? But we’re keeping it manageable this year.

“We want to shout to the world about what we’ve got, and focus on getting people into the southside to see the talent that’s already here.”

Could it be as big as the Edinburgh Fringe? The ambitious duo hope so.

Crawford commented: “It can only get bigger — albeit gradually.

“When everything’s in place and we have an army of people involved, we’d love to make it the Glasgow Fringe.”

Extra readers, you heard it here first.

The Southside Fringe HQ will be in Shawlands Arcade from April 27, with art installations, programmes and ticket info.

Tickets are also on sale 11am-6pm from 07928759675 — visit the Fringe website or Twitter feed for more info.