Another Fringe has come and gone. The equipment and merchandise have been put away, voices are resting, and we don’t have to look at each other’s mugs for a week and a half! Every year, the lead-up to Fringe is always a stressful time of learning lines, learning music, logistics, volunteer wrangling, set list creation, and supply purchasing. This year, we did two major things differently, and they have made all the difference.
For one thing, we weren’t learning brand new music between our Spring Fling and the Fringe like we did in previous years. We took the music we learned for the Spring Fling and refined them, and only when we were confident they could pass muster did we bring in some of the older songs. The same with some of the jokes we used for the Fringe show: some of it was material we introduced at the Fling, and some of it was new. This made our planning and implementation of the show much MUCH easier than in previous years.
Secondly, we chose to do two setup sessions instead of just one. This was so we could spend one night on just venue and tech setup. Let me tell you, setting up a BYOV venue and not having to sing the whole show after people are tired and stressed from all that work, was great! The second night, we spent almost entirely on singing, and being able to do that without worrying about setup and manual labour was liberating. It’s a whole new paradigm, people. Synergies abound!
So not being stressed by our script, not worrying about our music, and not fretting about setup made for an almost stress-free opening night, which was played to a large, appreciative audience! We love large and appreciative audiences! And then we got our first review: FOUR STARS! Then a three-star review! We had some of our biggest houses this Fringe, and even our small houses were still enthusiastic and appreciative, and that made our jobs that much easier. I’m normally a big ball of stress before Fringe, but this year, I felt surprisingly okay about how everything was going. And I wasn’t my usual cranky self before each performance, either! Heck, I only had two bad walking days all festival, and I’m sure it was due to lack of adequate sleep rather than my usual lower extremity issues.
And the best part about this Fringe? Well, the best part from money-miser Stan’s perspective, anyway? The best thing is that many of our audience members also chose to purchase some of our merchandise. The last time we sold this many t-shirts and CDs was when we were still performing on the outdoor stages! Thank you, large and appreciative audiences, for supporting Apocalypse Kow, hopefully your new favourite Fringe a cappella act!
While I’m on the subject of thank-yous, I would like to thank, first and foremost, our Stage Manager for the last couple of years, Jenica Hagan. Jenica has been with us and around us long enough that she no longer bats an eye when we pretend to fire her. Heck, she sasses us back whenever we attack her with a jaunty quip or sarcastic jape, and that’s one reason we love her. We also love her because he knows music, and she knows how we should sound when we’re up on that stage. She’s not afraid to give us the what-for, and during the Fringe, she’s as responsible for how good we sound as we are. And that’s just the Jenica you see at the booth. That’s not counting how supportive and awesome she’s been during rehearsals, during each night’s setup and sound check, and when she gives us our two-minute warning. She’s always there with a smile and kind words for us sensitive performers, she’s always willing to help out however she can, and we love her to bits. Thank you, Jenica, for being an awesome you!
I would also like to thank our front-of-house volunteers, who tirelessly sold candy, pop, water, and tickets for us, all for the dubious reward of being able to attend a show for free: our stalwart cohort, Glenn; new volunteers, Shannon and Teresa; friend of Kow and #YEGprov, Edmonton Playwright Rick Kiebich; and frequent #YEGprov volunteer, Kat, who stepped in at the last minute to save the day!
Thank you also to our friends who took the time to record video statements for the show: Ed the Sock and Liana K, Scott C. Bourgeois, former Kow member Gil “The Barber” Barber, Mark Meer (yes, that Mark Meer), Diego Ibarra (yes, that Diego Ibarra), and Mike McGuire. Our show would have been way less impressive without all y’all.
Thanks to Knox-Metropolitan United Church and administrator Jaclyn for making this year’s venue negotiation so quick and painless. We’ve greatly enjoyed performing in your facility! And thanks to Bridget Ryan and Murray Utas, without whom this year’s Kow Fringe show might not have happened, and that would have broken a 13-year streak for Kow (we’ve actually been at Fringe for one year of busking, 7 years on the outdoor stage, and 4 years indoors) and a 21-year streak for me, Stan. I’ve been doing the Fringe every year since 1994 and breaking that streak would have been sad.
Finally, thank you to all of the Kow boys and Kow girls, not to mention some adorable Apocalypse Kalves, who came out this year to celebrate our “10th” year at Fringe. I hope you had a good time at the show, because we definitely had a good time singing for y’all. Remember to follow us on Twitter (@apocalypsekow) and visit our website (apocalypsekow.com) where these updates are primarily updated.
Look for us in September at the Kaleido Festival, and in December at the Apocalypse Kow Kristmas Kabaret! And if you would like to book us for an event, conference, dinner, or other celebration, please email us! Thank you, friends!