The 17th Annual Rogue Festival

Fresno’s Completely Uncensored Performing Arts Event, Returns March 1-10, 2018

The 2018 Rogue Festival features 200 performances by 48 performing groups in 10 Tower District venues in Fresno’s largest, craziest and most courageous performing arts festival

The Rogue Festival, Fresno’s completely uncensored theater and performing arts festival, will return to the Tower District March 1-10. This year’s 17th annual Rogue Festival will present over 200 separate performances of theater, music, dance, comedy, spoken word and magic from 48 performing groups in 10 different venues.

But the most important thing about the Rogue isn’t its size or variety, but it’s freedom for both performers and audience, says Rogue Festival executive director Heather Parish.

“The Rogue Festival is built on a principle that is sacred to us — that there should be no censor, no curator, no selection committee standing between the artist and the audience. We don’t choose who can or cannot participate in the Rogue. We don’t select or reject performers. There are no restrictions on what performers can say or do. For the audience, this is the one event in the San Joaquin Valley where you can see raw, uncensored, unmediated performance — and only the audience gets to say what’s good or what’s bad.”

While previous Rogue Festivals accepted all applications on a first-come, first-serve basis, this is the first year that the Rogue Festival has held a lottery to allocate performing slots.

“We have been forced to go to a lottery application process because the Rogue has been simply too successful,” said Parish. “Last year we filled all our available slots within 12 minutes of opening online applications, and our server literally crashed. This year we accepted all applications over one week, and we received 75 applications. To give all those applicants an equal chance at performing, we did a random lottery to select who would be in this year’s festival.”

New to the Rogue this year is the “Artists’ Underground” program, which allows performers to create their own venues in commercial spaces and backyards.

“The Rogue has always been about encouraging artists to be entrepreneurs, to create their own opportunities and control their own box office,” said Parish. “Since we always have more artists than we can accommodate, this year we’re letting anyone who can find a space to perform be a part of Rogue.”

In its 17th year, the Rogue Festival is now one of the oldest festivals of its kind in the United States and has built a nationwide reputation for Fresno as a city that celebrates the arts.

“Fresnans who attend the Rogue don’t always know this, but artists all around the country talk about the Rogue Festival as a ‘must-do’ event, because of the tremendous support that the Fresno community gives Rogue performers,” said Parish. “Performers love coming to Fresno because of the way they are welcomed by the audience, Rogue volunteers and local performers. Rogue performers immediately feel they are part of our community, and they always want to come back.”

Dates to Remember – Rogue Festival 2018:

Rogue Festival Teaser Show at the Tower Theater Thursday, March 1. Doors open at 6 p.m. Show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets: $10 at Tower Theater, Fresno. The Rogue Festival Teaser Show presents a sneak peek at upcoming shows in the 2018 Festival, plus a chance to meet and mingle with Rogue performers.

Rogue Festival Performances in Fresno’s Tower District March 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10. Full program and information is available online:

Beatdown Poetry Slam:  Rogue Festival v. InnerEar Poets Monday, March 5, 6:30 p.m. The Revue. 620 E Olive Ave, Fresno. Tickets $12 at the door. This is 8th annual Battle Royale, featuring Fresno’s finest wordsmiths facing the talented performers from Rogue, in a war of words.

About the Rogue Festival

The Rogue Festival is one of the oldest and best respected Fringe Festivals in the western United States and part of a worldwide movement of Fringe theater festivals around the world, celebrating the independent artist rather than established arts institutions.

The Rogue is Fresno’s home for edgy, uncensored, avant-garde performances you won’t see anywhere else. Many of the acts in the Rogue are original works that are written and performed for the first time by the artists performing them, so Rogue audiences enjoy art they’ll never experience anywhere else.

Audiences at the Rogue Festival will have their pick of an incredible variety of entertainment, with shows happening simultaneously at eight different Tower District venues. Rogue Festival performances are presented in rapid rotation — no show is longer than one hour, and intermissions between shows are only a half-hour. Most Rogue shows cost $12 or less, so the ideal way to experience the Rogue is to see multiple shows during every day of the festival.

The mission of the Rogue Festival is to eliminate all barriers between the independent artist and the audience. The Rogue is a non-curated festival, meaning that Rogue Festival staff do not select the acts that perform at the Rogue. All applications to perform in the Rogue Festival are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. No one controls what’s in the Rogue, so it is a true First Amendment zone — you can see the greatest show ever, you can see the worst show ever, and you will definitely see shows that will challenge your comfort zone.

The Rogue Festival is also a non-juried festival, meaning that no prizes are given and there is no judging of content. The audience decides for itself what it likes and doesn’t like, so the Rogue Festival encourages word-of-mouth and online reviews from audience members.

The other mission of the Rogue Festival is to eliminate barriers between independent artists and their earnings. One hundred percent of all ticket sales goes directly to performers. The Rogue Festival, a registered 501(c)(3) organization, supports itself through sales of Festival wristbands, individual contributions, and sponsorships.

Tickets to Rogue Festival performances can be purchased online in advance or at the door starting 30 minutes before each performance.

The Rogue Festival draws 3,000 audience members into the Tower District, most of whom combine their Rogueing with dining, drinking and shopping at Tower District businesses, creating a sizable contribution to the local economy.

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