Why do people go to the Fringe? It is something difference. Something that you won't find on Broadway. It's gritty and essential. Young artists working on a small budget and their passion. These are the people who are looking for their art to be something more than simply pure entertainment. They come from all walks of life, but as a whole they are "on the fringe."
The New York International Fringe Festival is a bringing together of artists with the people who are truly interested in art for art sake. These are not the people who have to be sold on the importance of theatre or be scared away by bad reviews. They know that most of what they will see here will be raw and unpolished.
For the artists too, the experience is wonderful. Considering all they pay for the festival is a $500 application/acceptance fee and they get performance space in New York, that is fairly cheap. Heck, you couldn't get performance space for one weekend in Chicago that cheap. And even though the light board may crash and erase all of your cues, you only have 15 minutes to load in and load out, and other small details, you are performing in New York City. And performing as part of something larger.
FringeNYC is one of those incubator programs that are so essential to theatre in our national consciousness. Many of our top artists fight their way through the ranks of performance festivals such as these. The experience and character they gain here is invaluable; here artists learn something that cannot be taught in the sterile and safe environment of a university classroom.