What. Where. When. Why. How.

What is a fringe festival?

In 1947, eight theatre groups crashed the newly established Edinburgh International Festival. Uninvited and unwelcomed, the groups performed anyway on “the fringe” of the Festival, and the Fringe was born. The Edinburgh Fringe is now aptly nicknamed “the largest show on earth.” Fringe venues run the gamut from proper theatres to a public restroom. Today, there are more than 200 fringe festivals worldwide, with a growing list of 50 in the U.S. 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 78,000 attendees in 2018.

How Can I Participate in Fringe?

Easy. To become a Fringe artist, apply through this website during open submission period (March 1 - April 15). Those applications are sent via the Fringe directly to each venue a show is interested in. The venues then program their own lineups by working with the artists directly. See you at Fringe 8 in September 10-21, 2019.

To become a Fringe volunteer, check back at rochesterfringe.com/volunteer in late June. 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? Go: info@rochesterfringe.com

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 and the Central Library.

How Can I Purchase Tickets?

ALL 2019 tickets go on sale at NOON following our Big Reveal schedule announcement press conference in July 2019.

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: Forthcoming

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.


Most Fringe venues are handicapped accessible with the Spiegeltent being accessible to wheelchairs and motorized scooters.

A promise for 2019 and beyond: The Fringe has created an Accessibility Committee charged with improving the Fringe experience in all our participating venues and communicating to people with disabilities what each venue offers in terms of accessibility. To Karen Zandi and all the Mary Cariola Center volunteers, a sincere thank you for your commitment and support in helping us assess and update Fringe venues. Additional thanks to Stephanie Woodward and Sophie Poost from the Center for Disability Rights for their assistance in revising our venue assessment checklist.  The accessibility list will be continually updated as needed every year.

If you have a question or require assistance in regards to a particular venue’s accessibility, please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@rochesterfringe.com.

We are fully committed to Fringe For All.

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