The Perth Cultural Centre has been primped and primed, tents have been put up, pop-up bars built and performers moved in for the much-anticipated opening of Fringe World tonight.Perth's young and increasingly popular fringe is one of the hottest dates on the international fringe calendar.
It starts with a huge four-day weekend celebration and runs every night until February 24.
With 45 venues in Perth and Northbridge alone — including the debut of The West Australian Idolize spiegeltent, bigger sister to De Parel, the festival’s own turn-of-the-century music hall — Fringe World has grown by 50 per cent on last year.
At its heart is the extended Cultural Centre hub, encompassing the Urban Orchard and Secret Garden.
A new addition this year, the Fringe World bus will ferry fringe ticketholders between sites in Fremantle, Northbridge and Mt Lawley, complete with on-board entertainment.
Fringe World director Marcus Canning said that the bus was another thing ticked off his wish list to add to the fun of the festival, saying it would add a bit of "love and adventure".
East End Cabaret, DivaLicious, Twisted Sisters Vintage variety and perennial favourites pop comedy Frisky and Mannish are among the opening acts, while the Idolize spiegeltent and De Parel will host late-night entertainment and music after the scheduled shows for ticketholders.
Mr Canning said he had enjoyed watching the public explore the Cultural Centre as Fringe World took shape and was confident many people would come back to take in shows and soak up the atmosphere after-hours.
"I love it — you just know that person is not usually into this kind of thing but they will come down and try it out," he said.
"Last year we really saw the notion of the 'fringe binger', someone who comes to see five or more shows and I think we will see a lot more of that this year."
But it is not just about shows. There are pop-up bars, night markets, a mermaid tank, roving performers, scarecrow-making and Mechronos — a steam punk industrial performance machine — over the first weekend.On Sunday night, there is also a free concert with electro-clash band Chicks on Speed for anyone who has already bought a Fringe ticket.