Rochester Fringe Festival displays local, national, global artistic talent

The KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival has given summer a final goodbye for the past five years with its entertaining, summer festival feel—filling Rochester with talented artists of all different mediums from various parts of the world. 

A 10-day visual and performing arts festival, the Fringe started on Thursday Sept. 14 and lasts until Saturday Sept. 23, incorporating many different disciplines of art from international, national and local artists. 

“[The Fringe] showcases theater (physical, street, musical), comedy, visual arts, family entertainment, music, dance, spoken word, opera, poetry, literature and experiences,” according to the Fringe website.

The Fringe started off small when it began in 2012, garnering just 30,000 attendees. A year later, however, the attendance grew to 50,000 people with 360 shows in 28 venues all over Rochester. Furthermore, over 68,000 people attended the 500 plus performances and events in 2016. 

“[The 2016 Fringe was] one of the most successful fringe festivals in the nation—and one of Rochester’s newest, biggest and anticipated festivals,” the Fringe website said. 

To continue its successful precedents, the 2017 Fringe festivities kicked off with free outdoor music and entertainment, which with the warm weather made the September weekend feel like it was still a July night. Local Rochester bands such as Sisters of Murphy and the Brian Lindsay Band rocked out throughout the festival, allowing interested audience members to simultaneously enjoy some Rochester pride and great tunes.

The highlight of the opening weekend was the performance of Plasticiens Volants’ BIG BANG. A French company that was present at the 2016 Olympics in Rio and who is currently conducting their first American tour, Plasticiens Volants offered a thrilling performance on Friday Sept. 15 and Saturday Sept. 16. 

The show featured giant inflatables—which resembled huge floating creatures and other shapes—bizarre projected images, music and pyrotechnics to tell a surreal story. Thousands of people gathered to watch the first night of the company’s performance, causing Rochester’s Parcel 5 to be jam-packed.

During the week of the Fringe, there were also many smaller events around the local venues in Rochester. For example, “13 The Musical” was showcased in the Lyric Theatre: Cabaret Hall and the adult comedy show 50 Shades of Gay was exhibited at the TheatreROCS Stage at Abilene. 

The Fringe is the perfect place for artists and art-fans alike because there is something for everyone to enjoy and appreciate. The festival allows each of the artists to express themselves, whether it be through a thoughtful play or an expressive spoken-word performance. 

Additionally, the Fringe always proves to be a wonderful opportunity to appreciate Rochester for the city and its people. 

 “I enjoyed it. I thought the bands set a nice ambiance to the whole event,” English major junior Jack Kitzen said. “I felt like there was a great turnout and people were happy to be there, which added to the positive atmosphere. There were some great food trucks too, which made my stomach happy.” 

Several students and organizations from Geneseo will also represent the school at the Fringe. The Geneseo String Band, the Geneseo Dance Ensemble, Geneseo Honors Recital, Geneseo a cappella groups and Geneseo student writers will all perform on Saturday Sept. 23. 

No matter what genres or areas of art you’re interested in, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at the Fringe. The festival will continue to give its attendees wonderful experiences for years to come.

 The fifth-annual KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival began on Thursday Sept. 14 and continues until Saturday Sept. 23. During the festival, artists of all kinds performed in local venues around Rochester. The opening weekend featured French company Plasticiens Volants and their show, BIG BANG (above). (Annalee Bainnson/Photo Editor)

The fifth-annual KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival began on Thursday Sept. 14 and continues until Saturday Sept. 23. During the festival, artists of all kinds performed in local venues around Rochester. The opening weekend featured French company Plasticiens Volants and their show, BIG BANG (above). (Annalee Bainnson/Photo Editor)