Artist application now open for first-ever South Bend Fringe Festival

Local artists are itching for an outlet to express themselves in the midst of a pandemic that has taken a toll on the performing arts community, and South Bend is preparing to deliver.

The South Bend Civic Theatre, City of South Bend Venues Parks & Arts and Downtown South Bend proudly announce the city’s first-ever Fringe Festival, set for May 6-9 in locations along the Main Street corridor. The festival, in taking after the original Edinburgh Fringe Festival first developed in 1948, will celebrate art that borders on the edge of the mainstream.

More than 25 unique acts will perform multiple times over the course of four days, spanning a wide range of artistic disciplines, including theatre, music, comedy, dance, and more.

The application for artists is now open through Feb. 28 and only takes a few minutes to complete online. Any live artistic discipline is accepted and all performances must run between 45-60 minutes. Artists must have full availability during the performance schedule (6:30-10:30 p.m. May 6-7 and 2-10:30 p.m. May 8-9).

In keeping with South Bend’s beautiful diversity, the Fringe Festival is particularly seeking applications from BIPOC artists, artists with disabilities, and any artists championing or amplifying underrepresented experiences.

Since all shows will be performed at outdoor locations throughout downtown parks and locations in Downtown South Bend, and simultaneous shows will split crowds between performances, the nature of a Fringe Festival lends well to COVID-19 safety. Additional safety measures will be in place, including mandatory mask-wearing, controlled audience sizes and sanitation between performances.

“If you’ve never attended a Fringe Festival, you can expect short, rapidfire, and often eccentric original performances along the Main Street corridor of downtown South Bend,” said Organizer Grace Lazarz, who also serves as volunteer director and education specialist for the South Bend Civic Theatre. “I can’t wait to see artists think outside of the box as they help our community celebrate live performance that is less traditional.”


Any live artistic discipline is accepted and performances must run between 45 and 60 minutes. Artist must have full availability during the performance schedule May 6-9.

Applications are due by Feb. 28.