Tickets Are on Sale for Fringe Fest, But What Is It?

This Milwaukee festival is a celebration of all art on the fringe.

Photo courtesy of MKE Fringe

Fringe Fest is returning for its fifth year in Milwaukee on Aug. 28 at the Peck Pavilion, and tickets are on sale now. Fringe, in this case, does not refer to your bangs, or to those awesome leather jackets with the dangly cloth on the arms. We’re talking “fringe” as in your uncle’s political views – outside the norm.

Fringe festivals date back to 1947, when eight theatre companies were turned down at the Edinburgh International Festival. They flipped the festival the metaphorical bird and performed their plays anyway just outside the official festival’s border, hence “on the fringe.” The idea has lived on in the decades since and Fringe festivals have popped up in cities like London, New York and our friendly but somewhat irritating neighbor, Minneapolis.

Milwaukee’s Fringe Fest started in 2016 as a showcase of actors, painters, dancers, musicians and more. This year, the wide variety of acts will be performing at the Peck Pavilion outside the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Some of the most anticipated acts include the cello-and-drums musical duo NINETEEN THIRTEEN and the Warped Dance Company. You can check out the full schedule of performers here.

Photo courtesy of MKE Fringe



In addition to the in-person event, this year will mark the first Virtual MKE Fringe Fest. Audiences will be able to watch their performances from home – check here for the full schedule of virtual performances.

In-person festival tickets are $25 at the Marcus Center Box Office (929 N. Water St., 414-273-7206), and virtual festival tickets are available at this link.

Also, Willem Dafoe donated to the Fringe Fest, which is awesome. It says it right in the press release: “The Fifth Annual MKE Fringe is made possible by generous donations from Willem Dafoe…” That guy’s so cool. Have you seen “The Lighthouse?” What about “At Eternity’s Gate?” Fantastic stuff. And his ongoing support for Milwaukee, where he got his start as an actor, makes us like the guy even more.

Photo courtesy of MKE Fringe



Archer is the managing editor at Milwaukee Magazine. Some say he is a great warrior and prophet, a man of boundless sight in a world gone blind, a denizen of truth and goodness, a beacon of hope shining bright in this dark world. Others say he smells like cheese.