News Column

Fringe Festival preview reveals lack of volunteers

July 19, 2013


July 19--The opening night party for the KC Fringe reflected the organization's perpetual struggle with logistics and an insufficient number of volunteers.

The annual festival of music, dance, theater, spoken word, film and visual art began Thursday with a party that included "teasers" that gave the audience a taste of some of the performances and events coming up in the next nine days. The opening night festivities were held at the Spencer Theatre in the UMKC Performing Arts Center.

The emcee for the evening was comedian Lucky DeLuxe, a former Kansas City performer now based in Los Angeles, who kept the audience entertained with well-timed quips and irreverent asides. For almost three hours, spectators watched snippets from plays and muscial-theater pieces as well as performances by clowns, actors, musicians, mature belly-dancing cheerleaders and chunky burlesque performers.

At one point DeLuxe told the audience that the festival's printed schedule was no longer reliable because there had been a number of changes in recent days, but that the festival's website ( would be up to date. Later a representative of the Independent Film Maker's Coalition, in discussing a compilation of short films by local movie makers, pointed our errors in the printed schedule regarding the running time and the cost.

Cheryl Kimmi, the festival's executive director, said in a brief interview that putting together the schedule was a "massive" job that sometimes suffered because information submitted by the artists came in late.

"As many eyes as we have on it, we still screw up," Kimmi said. "And everything is subject to human error."

Last week Kimmi had said she hoped to get more than 200 volunteers to help manage venues and ticket sales and take on logistical tasks. As of Thursday night, the festival had about 85 volunteers. Those interested in volunteering can contact the festival via email at or by calling 816-287-0120.

To see the complete schedule of events,


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