This time of year Em Piro’s hair switches from its customary hue to something more colorful and easy to spot. Last year she dyed
it electric blue. This year it’s lime green. That change in color means one
thing—the St. Louis Fringe Festival is right around the corner.
The uncensored, unjuried art festival, which boasts over 150
hours of performances over 5 days, is back for a repeat installment after kicking
off last year. Piro, the executive director of the festival, wanted to give St. Louis
artists a way to share what they’re doing with others.
- Fun Fact: Applications for a spot in this year’s
festival filled up in two seconds. Last year it took five minutes.
- St. Louis Fringe Festival
- June 20 – June 24
- Midtown St. Louis
- Details and tickets
“The most important thing is to see what people can do when given an opportunity and platform,” Piro said.
The first Fringe festival started in Scotland in the late 1940s. Local Edinburgh artists started their own festival when they learned they were excluded from performing at the Edinburgh International Festival. More than 60 years later, fringe festivals have popped up in cities across the globe with one common goal—to showcase local artists.
“If they have a harebrained scheme, they can do it here,” Piro said.
It’s often those crazy schemes that turn into the best
surprises. Such as the writer last year who
wrote and produced a Greek drama delving into the origins of Mickey Mouse. Or Easelmuse, a group of artists and
musicians who challenged the audience to make art with materials and prompts they
“[The festival] is really about showcasing our talent,” Piro
said. “It celebrates living in this city.”
Piro’s tips to enjoy the show:
- Bring an open mind, and a bike.
- Try it all—a show, a workshop, an outdoor
performance and an after party.
- Plan your day in advance, but take time to see a show not on your itinerary.
- Give yourself enough time to park, walk and enjoy all that is Fringe.