Rogue Festival celebrates two decades of unique, independent, and forward-thinking performance in Fresno.
The Rogue Festival, Fresno’s completely uncensored performing arts festival, will return March 4 through 12. This year’s 20th Anniversary Festival will present over 100 separate performances of theater, music, dance, comedy, spoken word and magic throughout Fresno’s Tower District.
The Rogue Festival began in 2002 with a man named Marcel Nunis and an insane idea to make Fresno, of all places, a worldwide center for Fringe theater. After 20 years and thousands of performances from hundreds of performers from all over the planet, the Rogue has succeeded in becoming one of the most well-respected and long-running fringe festivals in North America with a unique reputation for hospitality and friendly audiences, while remaining a punk rock DIY festival of limitless free expression where anything can happen.
Like many long-running organizations, the Rogue Festival has seen its share of changes over two decades. Narrowly completing the festival’s run in 2020 before the COVID-19 lockdown, Rogue Festival went virtual for the first time ever in 2021. This year’s festival will bring with it several changes in safety operations and health precautions, but will still offer the same exciting, off-the-beaten-path original performance it is known for.
“After two years when we’ve been forced to avoid human contact, live performance is more important than ever,” says Jaguar Bennett, president of the Rogue Festival board of directors. “The essence of live performance is to be in a room with another human being and watch their movements and hear their words as they are performed. Performance is raw, real, intimate, messy, moving, hilarious, and disturbing—which is exactly how we want you to experience the Rogue Festival.”
The Rogue Festival, like most fringe festivals, does not choose who can or cannot participate. Performers are chosen by a lottery system and there are no restrictions on what performers can say or do, outside of safety codes and legal matters. For the audience, this is the one event in the San Joaquin Valley where they can see raw, uncensored, unmediated performance — and only the audience gets to say what’s good or what’s bad by leaving reviews and spreading word-of-mouth.
After two decades, 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. The Rogue Festival will offer shows March 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, and 12, 2022 in six different venues in Fresno’s Tower District. Information and tickets to individual shows will be available on our website, fresnoroguefestival.com, beginning February 15. For more information or questions about the Festival, please contact co-producer Heather Parish at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 559-272-2793.
What’s New for Rogue Festival’s 20th Anniversary:
New Logo: Rogue Festival decided that our 20th Anniversary was a good time to freshen up with a new logo that speaks to the sense of fun, movement, and discovery that Rogue Festival represents. Graphic designer Miguel Gastelum came through with a design that speaks to our fresh view on art and performance year after year.
New Website: We’ve partnered with the kind folks at Bitwise Industries to reorganize and update our website. Using a fresh, new WordPress template designed by Bitwise, the amazing team of apprentices there have put together a clean, organized site that we hope our audiences enjoy using.
Rogue Block Party: After a decade of presenting the Teaser Show at the Tower Theatre, we decided we wanted to throw a party for our community instead. So we’re moving the festivities across the street into the old Chicken Pie Shop parking lot for a Rogue Festival Block Party. We’re planning food trucks, vendors, and an open mic for a fun, FREE community event.
Cashless Venues: To enhance both safety and health measures, all Rogue Festival performance venues are now credit/debit only for ticket sales. Cash customers can purchase Rogue Show Vouchers at the Festival Pop-Up Store that will be located centrally on the NE corner of Olive and Wishon during Festival operating hours.
COVID and flu protocols: Rogue Festival will follow all state and county health mandates for audience mask-wearing at indoor performances regardless of vaccination status. We expect all audiences to wear masks at indoor venues. Masks and hand sanitizer will be available at each venue. Venue seating, ticket tables, and audio equipment will also be cleaned in between each performance to reduce the spread of viruses and illness in our community.
What’s the same:
The Muse on programs and tees: We have a special, unique Muse for our 20th Anniversary by local artist Naomi Marie. While we will not be having a Muse Reveal party this year, we are proud to highlight a local visual artist through our festival as we have done every year.
Local business support: As always, our venues are provided by local Tower District businesses like Fresno Music Academy and Arts, Veni Vidi Vici, Goldstein’s Mortuary and Delicatessen, Dianna’s School of Dance, Spectrum Gallery, and Hart’s Haven Books. Rogue Festival partners with businesses each year to attract visitors to the Tower District and support the local economy.
A wide variety of amazing shows like you cannot see anywhere else: Rogue Festival shows are NOT the kinds of shows you can see anywhere. They are intimate, unique, and a little bit wild. Come enjoy the ride.