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Nanaimo Fringe Festival’s membership with national association suspended

Concerns raised about ‘well-being and safety’ of festival participants
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The Nanaimo Fringe Festival, presented by Pacific Coast Stage Company, has had its membership with the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals suspended. (Instagram photo)

The Nanaimo Fringe Festival’s membership with the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals hangs in the balance.

According to a release issued by CAFF this month, the association has suspended the festival’s membership following concerns raised in July about the well-being and safety of festival participants and the artistic community.

The release noted that the association’s executive committee requested that festival presenter Pacific Coast Stage Company provide a plan “to ensure a safe space for artists to participate;” however, following the festival’s close in August, additional reports were made that the conditions were not met.

The association has requested PCSC submit a statement regarding their decisions and case to be reinstated as a member.

As per their website, the association is an arts and service organization formed to support fringe festivals, provide structure and guiding principles, as well as mentorship and professional development.

“CAFF is committed to welcoming diverse and marginalized communities into our spaces, and strives to actively oppose marginalization, repression and oppression within our member festivals,” noted the release. “The [CAFF] welcomes and supports our trans, two-spirited and non-binary community … There is no tolerance for transphobic views.”

A separate release issued by PCSC in early July noted that due to “personal activities on social media,” the board of directors and senior staff elected to place artistic managing producer, Bryony Dixon, on leave as it “further investigates the matter.” The release also noted that Dixon remained with the organization in an advisory role through Nanaimo’s 2023 Fringe festival.

Both PCSC and CAFF were contacted for further comment.

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