by Lorie Lewis Ham
The 2017 Rogue Festival is almost here. KRL will be featuring several Rogue Performer Preview articles between now and the beginning of the Festival on March 3. You can find all of the Preview articles so far in our Arts & Entertainment section.
We will also be reviewing many of the shows, and we may even do some more video interviews. Check out our Rogue Performer event page for more information as it becomes available, and you can also check out the Rogue 2017 website.
This week we interviewed the 2017 Rogue Festival Director, Heather Parish, who oversees the various aspects of the Festival’s operations. “I’m very lucky that there’s a great all-volunteer team of staff and managers helping everything along.”
KRL: How long have you been involved with Rogue in one way or another?
Heather: My first Rogue Festival was in 2007, and I began as an artist. I directed a short play by Terrance McArthur called All’s Red that’s Riding Hood. Since then, I’ve been a performer, a volunteer, the Festival publicist, and now Director.
KRL: Oh how fun–I didn’t know that. For those who don’t know what a Rogue Festival is can you give us a brief description?
Heather: Many cities have a performing arts festivals called “Fringe Festivals” and Rogue is among them. These festivals highlight independent performing artists instead of established institutions, like large theater companies. These are individuals who usually write, produce, and perform their own work in very small, intimate venues, so it’s the type of live performance you don’t usually get most places.
Shows also run in rapid rotation, usually only 30 minutes between the ending of one show and the beginning of another, so you can spend an afternoon or evening in the Tower District and see several shows in a short time. Most of the shows are $5-$10, so it doesn’t break the bank, either.
Rogue Festival is really designed for fearless performers to perform their work for fearless audiences. We encourage people to get adventurous, hear or see something new, and have a great experience.
KRL: Can you tell us some of the different types of shows there will be?
Heather: There’s storytelling, solo theater performance, music, dance, vaudeville, comedy—a wide variety of styles and types of shows.
KRL: Can you tell us about this year’s Muse and explain what a Rogue Muse is?
Heather: The Muse is the piece of artwork we choose for our posters and programs each year. We typically search for a local artist, and encourage that artist to give us something that inspires them to be “The Muse,” or the inspiration for the Festival. This year’s Muse is called “Fixate” by Bryan Pickens. I was drawn to the visceral quality of his work because the forms highlight what’s “under the skin” rather than the surface. That kind of stripped-back art is really representative of what the Rogue Festival presents each year.
KRL: How do people go about getting tickets this year?
Heather: Tickets to most Rogue Festival Shows are available through our TicketLeap site: roguefestival.ticketleap.com. You can search shows there and browse. There’s also a button on the website that will take you to the ticket site.
Half of the shows’ tickets are available online, so that folks who want to plan ahead or guarantee a seat can do that. But the other half are still available at the door 30 minutes prior to showtime. That way folks can be spontaneous and walk up to a show and pay with cash or credit card. But get there early! Some shows sell out pretty fast.
KRL: Are there any new venues?
Heather: We’ve been lucky enough to have most of our venues return this year. We’re really grateful to the following businesses for being willing to host the madness that is Rogue each year: Mia Cuppa Caffe, Vista Theater (formerly The Voice Shop), Dianna’s School of Dance, Veni Vidi Vici, Spectrum Gallery, and Fulton Street Art Gallery.
Our friends at California Arts Academy Severence, and Fresno Soap Co. are also hosting shows as our Off-Rogue Venues. Off-Rogue venues host Rogue Shows, but staff their own venues with their own people, so shake their hands when you see them.
KRL: How many local performers are there this year?
Heather: This year there are about 21 local acts and 29 acts from out-of-town…out-of-town meaning anything from Livermore, CA to Perth, Australia. And we have some acts from pretty far away.
KRL: How many performers overall are there this year?
Heather: Fifty or so.
KRL: Do you have any tips for those new to the Rogue Festival?
Heather: Get your hands on a Rogue Program (a PDF version is also available on our website), and go through to mark the shows you’re interested in. Then choose a few days you can spend some time at the Festival. Plan in advance to see one or two shows, then choose one at random that fits in your schedule when you’re there.
When you arrive, park in one of the central parking lots of the Tower District, near the Tower Theater. Then just head to your first venue, where you can buy your Rogue wristband (a $3 “entrance fee” to the Festival); you need a wristband to get in the doors to the shows along with a ticket to the show. Then enjoy your first show.
From there, the Rogue can take you anywhere! Most of the venues are in walking distance of each other and you can always stop for a late lunch or dinner at one of the Tower’s restaurants, if you need a break. It’s a great way to see the funky, artsy neighborhood.
KRL: Rogue website and social media?
KRL: Anything else you would like to add?
Heather: Rogue Festival is a champion of the gritty, got-something-to-say outlook of the independent performer. One-hundred percent of the tickets’ [sales] goes to the performer you’re seeing on that stage. The wristband sales help the Festival with expenses.
We don’t censor the subject matter of the artists nor do we judge for quality, so the audience flips a coin with each ticket bought: heads it’s amazing, tails it’s…well…a work in progress.
Our core mission is to connect art, artist, and audience in a First Amendment Zone every year. Rogue Festival honors those who speak their truth, challenge the status quo, and perform audaciously, creating a distinctly forward-thinking culture as it goes along.
We hope you’ll join us for this audacious, scrappy, and authentically Fresnoan performance festival!
Friday, March 3 – Saturday, March 11, 2017
Tower District, Fresno, CA