What is a fringe festival?
In 1947, eight theatre groups crashed the newly established Edinburgh International Festival. Though uninvited and unwelcome, the groups performed anyway at venues that they arranged for themselves. The following year, Scottish journalist Robert Kemp coined the term “fringe festival” to describe these non-curated shows. The Edinburgh Fringe is now aptly nicknamed “the largest show on earth,” and its 2015 edition saw 50,459 performances of 3,314 shows in 313 venues and lasted the entire month of August. It grosses more than £100 million for the Scottish economy alone. Fringe venues run the gamut from proper theatres to a public restroom. Today, there are more than 300 fringe festivals worldwide, with a growing list of 50 occurring in the US and counting.
What is the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival?
Debuted in 2012 and attracting more than 30,000 attendees in its first year, it’s an all-out, no-holds-barred, multi-disciplinary visual and performing arts festival featuring international, national and local artists. The “Fringe,” as it is called, showcases theatre, comedy, visual arts, family entertainment, music, dance, physical theatre, musical theatre, opera, poetry, literature, and experiences that have yet to be imagined. Rochester’s Fringe is a proud member of the US Association of Fringe Festivals, and is already one of the largest in the country, having drawn more than 68,000 attendees in 2016.
How Can I Participate in Fringe?
Easy. To become a Fringe artist, apply through this website when the submission process opens April 1st prior to each September Fringe. Submissions close April 30. Those applications are sent via the Fringe directly to each venue to which a show is interested in performing. The venues then program their own lineups by working with the artists directly.
To become a Fringe volunteer, just head over here to sign up: rochesterfringe.com/volunteer. You can qualify for a Fringe t-shirt and free tickets. NICE.
Information about applying to be a Fringe street performer or busker will be posted in the near future, so be sure to check back. Often. Impatient? This: firstname.lastname@example.org
What Does the Fringe Do?
As a not-for-profit organization, the Rochester Fringe Festival is run by a hardworking board of directors that:
- promotes the Fringe to the community and the press.
- produces free, signature outdoor events to promote the community experience.
- centralizes ticketing and box office sales.
- facilitates collaboration among educational institutions, arts groups and venues.
- produces promotional events for venues and artists.
- publishes the Fringe Guide
- publishes and maintains rochesterfringe.com.
- establishes and maintains the overall Fringe brand identity.
- presents several key events at Parcel 5, One Fringe Place (at the corner of Gibbs & Main Streets) and on Gibbs Street during both weekends to further promote and support the Fringe.
Where Is It?
The East End of Rochester is where you’ll find the heart of the Fringe. One Fringe Place (corner of Gibbs and Main Streets) is the festival “hub” for all 10 days, with food, drink, free outdoor entertainment, a ticket booth, merchandise tent, street performers, and a spectacular party atmosphere. The Fringe footprint takes us to the Neighborhood of the Arts (NOTA) satellite location, which includes Writers & Books, School of the Arts, and MuCCC with an extended reach to George Eastman Museum, the Central Library and RMSC’s Strasenburgh Planetarium.
How Can I Purchase Tickets?
When tickets are officially released for sale:
Online: Go to our Shows page. Find a show and click on a showtime to purchase.
Phone (fees apply): (585) 957-9837
Box Office Line Hours: Thursdays: 6pm - 8pm and Saturdays 12pm - 3pm.
Further details on buying tickets in person and for Box Office hours, click here to visit the Box Office page.
How is the Fringe Funded?
The not-for-profit Rochester Fringe Festival is funded through sponsorships, partnerships, grants, philanthropic giving, show registration fees, advertising income and website vendor registration fees, a percentage of ticket sales and Fringe merchandise sales. Click here to donate.
Are There Advertising Opportunities?
Yes. So glad you asked. Contact the Fringe for more info.