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Rochester loves the Fringe.

In its first three years, the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival has attracted over 140,000 attendees - 32,000 in its first year, about 50,000 in 2013 and over 60,000 in 2014. In 2014 there were over 25 venues in and around downtown Rochester. Over 380 shows and events. And rave reviews from critics, news outlets, bloggers and festival goers alike. In fact, the Fringe has become one of the most successful fringe festivals in the nation. And one of Rochester’s most successful festivals.  Fringe 2015 will be held from September 17 - 26.

For the Uninitiated.

In case you missed the first, second (or even third) Fringe, allow us to enlighten you. The Fringe is a 10-day, all-out, no-holds-barred, multi-disciplinary visual and performing arts festival. The Fringe features international, national and local artists. It showcases theater, comedy, visual arts, family entertainment, music, dance, physical theatre, street theatre, musical theatre, opera, poetry, literature and experiences that have yet to even be imagined!

The Fringe History.

The Fringe is a not-for-profit corporation pioneered by several of Rochester’s cultural institutions: Geva Theatre Center, George Eastman House and Garth Fagan Dance, as well as emerging groups such as PUSH Physical Theatre and Method Machine. Our Board has expanded to include the Rochester Downtown Development Corporation, University of Rochester, Eastman School of Music, RIT, Boylan Code, and Mengel Metzger Barr. Numerous colleges, government representatives and philanthropic organizations have joined to support the festival.

What is a Fringe?

In 1947, eight theatre groups crashed the newly established and curated Edinburgh International Festival. Uninvited and unwelcome, the groups performed anyway at venues they arranged themselves. The following year, Scottish journalist Robert Kemp coined the term “fringe festival” to describe these non-juried shows. The Edinburgh Fringe is now “the largest show on earth,” as it is nicknamed. The 2014 festival saw 49,497 performances of 3,193 shows in 299 venues and lasted the entire month of August. It grosses over $100 million annually for the Scottish economy. Venues run the gamut from proper theatres to a public restroom. Today, there are over 200 fringe festivals worldwide, with around 50 occurring in the US.