It’s back again and better than ever. Rochester Fringe Festival has announced an unbelievable lineup for 2017. Over the course of 10 days, more than 500 events will be held, including music, art, dance, comedy, and theater. The festivities take place from September 14-23 across more than two dozen venues. Headlining this year are performances by France’s theatrical Plasticiens Volants, comedian John Mulaney, and the return of the Fringe Street Beats dance-off. The festival also includes a wide variety of live music.
Fringe festivals have grown from humble origins. Seven decades ago, a handful of acts who were turned away from the Edinburgh International Festival played in smaller venues on the fringe. The movement has grown to include more than 200 Fringe Festivals around the world. With the NYC Fringe Festival on hiatus this year, Rochester will be hosting the state’s largest Fringe Festival. Ithaca also hosts a Fringe Festival, which took place in spring.
The main stage at Parcel 5 will host Sisters of Murphy, Noble Vibes, and Teagan and the Tweeds on Fri., Sept. 15. On Sat., Sept. 16, the same stage will feature music by Brian Lindsay Band, the Demos, and Big Mean Sound Machine. On the second weekend of the festival, Gibbs Main Street will concerts by Don’t Know Jack, the Crooked North, Friday in America, Sirsy, and Oh Manitou (Sept. 22) and Will Bee, the Yellowjackets, Mosaic Foundation, La Muralla, and Prime Time Funk (Sept. 23). All of these shows are free.
A handful of venues in the area will host live music throughout the week. On Gibbs Street near East Avenue, Java’s Cafe will host a variety of free shows, including Tart Vandelay, Dave DiPrimo Band, Ponder the Giraffe, and a tribute to Sinatra. Across the street at the Eastman School of Music, festival attendees can enjoy performances by Róisín Dubh and Gospel Sunday, which are free, and tributes to Yes and Pink Floyd (which are ticketed).
Performances at The Little Theatre on East Avenue include Japanese drumming group Wadaiko and Irish duo Cuppa Tae. Also on East Avenue is Bernunzio Uptown Music, which is hosting ticketed events. They’ve booked singer songwriters Susanna Rose and Leo Crandall, as well as some groups like Passive Aggressives Anonymous, the folk orchestra 23 Psaegz, and Canadian tribute band Songs in the Key of ‘Eh.’
Lyric stages will be set up for musical performances by Sean McGrath, Bill Schmitt & the Bluesmasters, Hard Logic, Chris Beard, and more. School of the Arts will have a few scattered locations, at which music lovers will find a variety of acts, including Castle Creek, Inner Loop, and Casey Jones Costello.