The Chelsea Fringe is preparing to burst into life for its 12th festival year with nine days of colourful events from Saturday 20th – Sunday 28th May 2023. This year’s festival will showcase a characteristically diverse programme that spans a wide and inclusive range of horticultural topics and themes – from explorations of garden art and sculpture in the Tuscan hills, to green-fingered jamborees in Kent.
The 2023 Fringe brims with entertaining events for all ages, including hands-on gardening sessions, art installations, guided walks, creative workshops, talks, exhibitions, and performances. Events in the USA and Italy join a line-up of confirmed events in London and around the UK that is growing day-by-day.
‘Once again, Fringe participants have amazed us with their powers of imagination and sense of fun. Now, perhaps more than ever, we need to encourage public participation in gardening and green space events, so we are hoping for a good audience for these initiatives, which are put together with such love and care, often by volunteers’ said Fringe founder and director Tim Richardson.
Art and craft are, as ever, strongly represented at the Fringe. Visitors are invited to King Henry’s Walk Garden (Islington, London N1) to learn how to work with natural dyes and the possibilities of Itajime Shibori, a simple yet sophisticated Japanese technique which produces a number of exciting patterns on fabric. Natural pigment and ink making are also the focus of workshops at Doddington Place Gardens in Sittingbourne, Kent. Meanwhile, OmVed Gardens (Highgate, London N6) – a food project and sustainability hub – hosts a programme curated by craft gallery ‘Thrown’ that explores ecological footprint through the work of 12 artists and makers. The exhibition will be punctuated by a programme of events including artist talks, workshops, music nights, garden walks and a zero-waste themed supper club.
Community gardens are always celebrated in the Fringe, and with 2023 no exception. Olden Community Garden (Drayton Park, London N1) hosts an afternoon of acoustic music across their 2-acre woodland oasis that includes Brazilian choro music, a swing group, a renaissance choir, and English folk musicians. Meanwhile, an exploration of the history and use of herbs will take place at the Tate Modern Community Garden (Southwark, London SE1).
The larger landscape of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (Stratford, London E20) is also explored for the first time in this year’s Fringe, where the 70,000 plants and 250 species of the spectacular ‘2012 Gardens’ and its representation of the world’s four climatic regions will be the focus of a free guided walking tour.
Favourite fixtures also return including the annual invitation from Henley Quakers to spend some quiet time reflecting in their secret garden in the heart of the town. Tea and cake are offered as encouragement.
Turin’s programme as an international Fringe ‘hub’ for 2023 includes a walking expedition to discover the ancient roses that are making a return to modern gardens after 200 years of neglect, and a tour of some of the hidden gardens of the city’s great villas.
Registration remains open for participants right up to the festival, which operates on an ‘open- access’ basis. Anything and anyone can join in, providing their event is ‘on-topic, legal and interesting’. For the latest and most up-to-date programme simply visit www.chelseafringe.com.
Anyone still wishing to contribute an idea to the 2023 programme should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register their event. For more press information please contact Benjamin Ward on email@example.com, +44 (0) 7837 134 193 (not for publication)
Images for press use from past Fringe events are available here: https://tinyurl.com/b2y9vfyh
The Chelsea Fringe is a community interest company (CIC) founded by Festival Director Tim Richardson in 2011. All progress to date has been achieved by a team of dedicated volunteers donating their time. The Chelsea Fringe is entirely independent of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, though acts with its support.