August 31, 2015


Winnipeg Fringe Festival

Fringe shows relocated after city closes the book on Aqua Books

It was another case of premature location for Aqua Books.

Venue 20, the new Aqua Books location at 123 Princess St., was shut down after five shows by a city inspector for lacking a proper occupancy permit. That’s the same problem the new store location had as a jazz venue a few weeks ago.

Kelly Hughes is the owner of Aqua Books. Until recently his store was a Fringe Festival venue.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Kelly Hughes is the owner of Aqua Books. Until recently his store was a Fringe Festival venue. Photo Store

One of the displaced shows — More Power to Your Knitting, Nell — played at The King’s Head Thursday at 5 p.m., but the three evening shows had to be cancelled.

Fringe organizers scrambled to find a replacement venue and came up with an old one in The Conservatory, main floor of the Crocus Building, 211 Bannatyne. "We can’t make up lost shows because people are already skedded to the end, but we’re hoping fringers will come out and really support these six shows." said the festival's executive producer, Chuck McEwen.

The new venue was up and running Friday at 1:30 p.m. The change also affects performances of ‘33, a kabarett, The Complete History of the Moustache, Ne Me Quitte Pas and Brel: The Impossible Concert, Shelby Bond, The Poor Man’s Guide To Being Rich and The Witch.

"We worked hard and down to the wire and we did the best we could but for the purposes of the city it wasn’t quite enough," said Aqua Books owner Kelly Hughes, who recently moved his business from Garry Street. "It was kind of a paperwork thing. We had all our fire and life safety in, and all had been tested and inspections along the way working with the city and an architect trying to get the occupancy permit. We just ran out of time. We had to do something and we said the ‘show had to go on.’"

How was this different from the jazz festival venue that didn’t work? "Basically it was the same thing — but we were a lot more ready this time."

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