Geneseo’s first fringe festival celebrates community talent

After years of attending and participating in Rochester’s annual celebrations, Geneseo has finally gotten their very own Fringe Festival. A fringe festival is essentially a conglomeration of a variety of different artistic acts and exhibitions, from vocal performances to visual art shows. The first Geneseo Fringe Festival was brought to us by the Geneseo Campus Activities Board on Friday Nov. 4.

With performances in comedy, music, poetry and dance, the festival provided a platform for some of Geneseo’s best talent to show off their skills. Geneseo a capella groups Between the Lines, Exit 8, Hips n’ Harmony and Emmelodics brought large crowds of fans to the MacVittie College Union Ballroom, as did local bands Donner Dance Party and Woodrow Chillson.

Cultural groups Gajjda Bhangra and Slainte Irish Dance were also represented, and Slam Poetry and Gestures: Organization for Deaf Awareness added to the ensemble with breathtaking linguistic performances.

Following their performances, Slam Poetry and GODA each held workshops in the Kinetic Gallery, teaching attendees how to create their own slam poems and how to sign. It’s rare that groups such as these that focus on the spoken—or unspoken—word get a spotlight on campus, and the Geneseo Fringe Festival gave them prime time to show the student body their talent.

“[The festival] has allowed different aspects of the campus to come together and create a sense of collaboration within the community,” Geneseo Late Knight Student Coordinator English adolescent education major sophomore Neha Marolia said.

And that it did, as students filtered into the ballroom—even when initially they were on their way to Starbucks, Fusion and the Fireside Lounge, not the Geneseo Fringe Festival.

GCAB’s Valley Entertainment Coordinator communication major senior Leila Sedigh was instrumental in bringing the fringe festival to Geneseo. Working closely with GLK as well as GCAB’s advisor, Associate Director of Student Life Tiffany Brodner, Sedigh’s goal was to give students the opportunity to experience a fringe festival without the trouble of having to trek all the way to Rochester.

Sedigh brought together local performances that were “inclusive of so many students,” while GLK brought in the featured act, popular campus performer Jason LeVasseur. LeVasseur, is “the most awarded music performer in the history of campus entertainment,” according to Campus Activities Magazine.

LeVasseur is praised for both his musical skill—he plays the guitar and harmonica in addition to providing his own vocals—and his on-stage charisma. Known to crack jokes and get the crowd laughing, LeVassuer also leads several workshops and keynotes, which is a great addition to a festival bent on bringing a community together.

Although Sedigh did seek to include the visual arts in the first of what’s sure to be many campus fringe festivals, she did not receive any submissions. She remains hopeful, however, that her successors will incorporate the visual arts into future festivals. With the maintenance of the Kinetic Gallery falling under GCAB’s jurisdiction, it shouldn’t be hard to collaborate on a student exhibition for the festival.

Despite this one hiccup, it seems that Geneseo’s first fringe festival has been a success. As the Rochester Fringe Festival grows in popularity each year, there’s no doubt that Geneseo’s will as well. With so much potential to include any variety of acts, it’ll be a wonderful surprise to see what GCAB cooks up for next year’s festival.