Lineup announced for 10th annual Rochester Fringe

COURTESY OF KEYBANK ROCHESTER FRINGE FESTIVAL

The KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival will return for a 10th year on Sept. 14-25 with more than 425 in-person and online performances and events, ranging from comedy, dance and multidisciplinary shows to music, visual art and film, spoken word and theater.   

“We are all thrilled to get the performing arts community back where it belongs: on stage in Rochester,” said Erica Fee, founding festival producer. “We’re committed to providing a safe and sensational 10th anniversary Fringe.” 

The 2021 festival will feature more than 120 free shows during its 12 days, including a finale at The Five, the now-grassy lot formerly known as Parcel 5. Fringe will host a mini music festival curated and headlined by Rochester’s Joywave. “SMOKESTACKS” will run from 4 to 10 p.m. Sept. 25.

Joywave will headline “SMOKESTACKS” during this year’s Fringe Festival on Sept. 25.

"Given the insanity of the past 18 months, we felt it was important to put on a concert that’s free for everyone,” said Daniel Armbruster from Joywave. “We all deserve a moment to breathe and we can’t think of a better place to celebrate our community’s resilience. We’ve had this ‘SMOKESTACKS’ event idea for a while now and we are grateful to the Fringe for helping bring this idea to life.” 

All performers, participants, staff, volunteers and festivalgoers ages 12 and older must show proof of vaccination to attend indoor shows. Masks also will be required indoors. Unvaccinated attendees must wear a mask at outdoor shows, as well.  

Organizers have obtained an Italian Circus Tent that will live for all 12 days at One Fringe Place on the corner of Gibbs and Main streets, across from Eastman Theatre.  

Inside, a Fringe-commissioned variety show created and directed by Matt Morgan will make its premiere for 14 performances: “Cirque du Fringe: AfterParty.” The production will feature Morgan and co-hosts Mark Gindick and Ambrose Martos. Rounding out the cast are Ethiopian hula hoop artist Zenebech Kassa, Russian juggler Gena Cristiani, African American acrobat Shenea Stiletto and Ethiopian foot juggler Elsabet Belayneh Marake, with live music by DJ A-Ball. 

An Italian Circus Tent will be set up at One Fringe Place, replacing the previously announced Cristal Palace Spiegeltent.

"Silent Disco,” which the festival introduced to Rochester in 2013, will return for all four, weekend late-nights. It will be home to “Gospel Sunday,” an afternoon of local gospel music hosted by the Rev. Rickey Harvey on Sept. 19. Also returning to One Fringe Place are two more free events: “Pedestrian Drive-In" and “Kids Day,” featuring a free “Disco Kids,” on Sept. 18. 

"Dashboard Dramas” and “Bushwhacked Backyard: BONFIRE” will run at One Fringe Place throughout the festival, as will the debut of “Bushwhacked Renaissance: Renew, Revive, Re-diculous.” 

The annual “Fringe Street Beat” will take place on Sept. 18 in Martin Luther King Jr. Park at Manhattan Square.  

Because several of the festival’s usual indoor venues won’t reopen in time, new venues stepped in to provide spaces for the local, regional and national artists who applied to perform at the festival. Those new venues include the Dawn Lipson Canalside Stage at the JCC, the JCC Hart Theatre, Made on State, The Spirit Room, La Marketa/International Plaza, the Sloan Performing Arts Center at the University of Rochester and the Theatre at Innovation Square.  

Returning venues are the Central Library, Eastman School of Music, Garth Fagan Dance, Java’s, Joseph Avenue Arts & Culture Alliance, MuCCC, Nox, RIT City Art Space, Rochester Contemporary, Rochester Music Hall of Fame and The Little.   

A Virtual Fringe returns this year, with 55 productions available on-demand and live-streamed. Several site-specific shows brought their own venues: Aerial Arts Rochester’s “Amplified” in its new facility on Atlantic Avenue and the multidisciplinary “Remnants” in Ellison Park.  

Visit rochesterfringe.com for information.