After closing its application period Friday, February 19, Minnesota Fringe Festival announced via press release it had received 524 applications for its 2016 festival, a 10-percent increase over 2015’s 477 applications and a new record for the organization.
The uncurated, 11-day performing arts festival—taking place August 4-14 this year—chooses its annual lineup of 170 shows with a random lottery.
Each applicant gets a number, which goes on a ping-pong ball. The ping-pong ball goes into a bingo cage, and the rest is left to chance. The moment of truth for each of the 524 applicants comes on February 29 at the festival’s annual selection lottery.
The increase in applications comes just months after the festival announced a major overhaul to its ticketing structure: In 2016, the festival will be ticketed entirely with day passes instead of single tickets and multi-show passes.
2016’s applications include 32 from greater Minnesota artists, 104 from national touring artists (representing 25 different states), as well as four international artists. There are 260 first-time Fringe applicants and 84 artists who are producing their first show ever.
Minnesota Fringe is one of the oldest and largest fringe festivals in the country, now in its 23rd year. In 2015, the annual festival saw attendance of 50,338 for 909 performances of 174 shows, and featured the work of over 1,300 artists.