Living Fringe to the Fullest: James Song (Fringe Patron, Donor, & Board Member)

James Song had his love for Fringe on display before he was ever involved with the Festival. He’d been a passionate patron since 1984, when a friend first brought him down to Old Strathcona to check it out.  

James Song: Fringe Patron, Donor, & Board Member

“We see a show and I’m like, ‘Where did this come from? I live here and I don’t know about it,’” he recalls.  

“They had me at 16. I’ve followed Fringe through the years, it’s been such a huge part of my life.”  

Song even had a favourite Fringe fest poster—for 2011’s Fringeopolis—put up in his office at work. And that poster would ultimately help bring him into the organization itself.  

“One of my new partners, who was an existing [Fringe] board member, came in and said, ‘What’s with your Fringe poster?’” Song recalls. “I said, ‘Well, what do you mean? I love it.’ He said, ‘I might be leaving the board soon […] what about you?’ And I started to think about it: that would be an amazing experience.”  

Sure enough, Song joined Fringe’s Board of Directors shortly after that. Getting involved in the behind-the-scenes side of Fringe has only deepened his appreciation for it.  

“The public sees this large, incredible eighteen- ring circus and they think it just magically rises,” Song says.  

“They don’t see all the backroom stuff: all the preparation, logistics, all the things that our staff do so well. It’s really quite brilliant.”  

The Festival has helped put Edmonton on the map, Song notes, as a beloved destination for performers and audiences alike. Some of his favourite Fringe memories aren’t even particular shows—though Marty Chan’s The Bone House holds a particular place in his heart.

Rather, what stands out to Song is how the Festival intertwines with the rest of our lives each and every August.  

“The Fringe is a backdrop to your life,” he says. “You fall in love there. Someone breaks your heart there. You go on dates, you meet friends. It’s woven into your personal history. I think everyone has those stories.”  


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