A quick update on a venue change: all performance scheduled to be at Aqua Books ( 123 Princess) are now at:
THE CROCUS BUILDING
This is a well-known Fringe venue from years past, so patrons should have no trouble finding their way there. Performers who have shifted down the road include:
SHELBY BOND - THE POOR MAN'S GUIDE TO BEING RICH
ERIK DE WAAL - THE WITCH
BREMNER DULTHIE - kabaret '33
MELANIE GALL - MORE POWER TO YOUR KNITTING NELL! and
Bremner and Melanie's joint effort - BREL AND PIAF...
If I missed your show, please FB or tweet me and I will update this post.
Kudos to Chuck McEwan and the intrepid Winnipeg Fringe for resolving this so swiftly and so well. What could have been a disaster has just been a very temporary set-back. The Conservatory is a nice air-conditioned venue, a short sprint from the beer tent. Get out and support your touring Fringe favourites!
I posted on FB about this earlier today but I am just going to say it here: this is NOT the fault of the Winnipeg Fringe.
Aqua Books is a BYOV. and has been for the past few years. Kelly Hughes, who has been a great supporter of the live performance scene downtown made Aqua a popular venue for readings, theatre and music. Aqua relocated this spring and Kelly has been busy renovating his new location at 123 Princess. I am not sure how this happened, but no occupancy permit for Aqua was obtained from the city by Aqua for the festival and so city officials shut it down opening night. Apparently, the same thing happened at Aqua during the Jazz Festival in Winnipeg a month back.
Mr Hughes is not a neophyte at this. He must surely have known a permit would be required.
I would really like to know if the failure to obtain the permit was an oversight on his part and the city was just being ham-fisted about paper-work or if the space was not completed and substantially not up to code and so he hoped to just dodge the inspection?
Fringe performers often pay up-front for a BYOV venue at least in part, so it is quite possible they are out of pocket on two counts: lost revenue for cancelled shows plus paying for a space they are now not using.
I know running and moving a small shop is a hand-to-mouth business, especially a bookstore in the current climate. Renovations are never cheap. We all want to see Mr. Hughes succeed with his venture. However none of this makes renting people a space they can't use acceptable.
Someone needs to get to the bottom of this. Either the city needed to cut Hughes some slack and let the shows go on or Hughes knew some time ago he could not be ready in time and owed it to the performers and the Winnipeg Fringe to let them know it advance.
It's a sad story, but at least the performers got a happy ending. Things are looking less certain for Aqua.