After their successful stint here in 2018, the Capital Fringe Festival will return to Southwest in 2019. As Festival Producer Lee Cromwell put it, “Southwest shows the magic between community, businesses and tourism.” Whether it’s our farmers market, our night market or the lively events at the Wharf, Capital Fringe experienced the charm of our neighborhood first hand, and they want more!

With the festival coming back to Southwest for the second year in a row, Capital Fringe is hoping to engrain a sense of “fringe culture” in our community. They have a desire for us to take more ownership and to feel as though we are more than just “renters” of the festival. There are plenty of opportunities for residents to get involved, to become more knowledgeable and feel as though they are a part of the festival. If there are artists who would like to participate, those applications are due by Jan. 11, so there is still time for Southwesters to share a creative piece and apply. If you’re like me and your artistic side is lacking, but you’d be thrilled to get involved in another way, there is the opportunity to host. If you have a spare bedroom and can host an out-of-town artist, you will be compensated with multi-ticket passes—making it significantly cheaper to see multiple shows and take a risk on the type of show you go for.

The Fringe Festival has something for everyone—you just have to find it. This model of theater, which started in Edinburgh in the 1940s, is based on the importance of supporting local artists. With fringe festivals all over the world, Capital Fringe is one of the five largest in the United States, with DC’s being known for running longer than most, according to Cromwell. Artists can pay a small fee to participate without needing to pass a litmus test for the stories they want to tell. Last year, between 55 and 70 percent of the Capital Fringe ticket sales went back to the artists.

What makes our neighborhood so unique in terms of hosting the festival is how concentrated everything is. Last year, this accessibility meant that every show was within a seven-minute walk of each other. According to Cromwell, capacity for 2018 individual shows went up 10 percent from 2017 with a goal for it to increase further in the future.

To find more information, including applications, please visit

By Joanna Levine

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