It’s Rogue Festival Time Again!

Feb 18, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Lorie Lewis Ham, Music, Rogue Festival, Theatre

by Lorie Lewis Ham

It is once again time for the Rogue Festival, which runs from March 3-11 in Fresno. This is one of the highlights of the Fresno arts scene each year and it takes place in the Tower District. Recently we chatted with Jaguar Bennett, who is board president and lead producer of the Rogue Festival this year, to learn more about this year’s event.

KRL: How many performers will there be this year?

Jaguar: The Rogue will host 40 separate performing groups from the Central Valley, from throughout the United States, and one Australian guy. This year’s Rogue Festival will take place Friday, March 3, Saturday, March 4, Sunday, March 5, Thursday, March 9, Friday, March 10, and Saturday, March 11.

KRL: How many venues will there be this year?

Jaguar: Altogether, there are 8 Rogue venues this year: Dianna’s Studio of Dance, ViSTA Theatre, Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen, Veni Vidi Vici, the Spectrum Art Gallery, Hart’s Haven Used Bookstore, the LAByrinth Art Collective, and amazing to say, a one-day only staged reading at the 2nd Space Theatre.

KRL: Will there be anything different or new this year?

Jaguar: For the last three years, the Rogue Festival has been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. In 2020, the lockdowns began just as the Rogue was ending, and many performers cancelled their final shows; in 2021, we were obliged to hold an all-virtual festival over Zoom; in 2022, we came back for live performance, but we had lost two venues.

In 2023, the Rogue is getting back to normal, with a full roster of shows and a new off-Rogue venue. the LAByrinth Art Collective. This year is less about starting something new than going back to the good old days of the Rogue Festival as you remember it. It’s going to be a wild party with plenty of shows, open bars, and restaurants in the Tower District to eat and drink, stupendous performances, and a fun Rogue Festival atmosphere.

KRL: Where/how do people purchase tickets and how much are they?

Jaguar: To attend Rogue shows, first you must buy a Rogue Wristband, which is available at any Rogue venue, at the Rogue Store, or online at our ticketing site. The Rogue Wristband is your ticket to the whole Rogue Festival, and it costs only $6. Since 100% of all ticket sales go directly to the performers, the Rogue Wristband helps the Rogue come back year after year.

Ticket prices for individual Rogue shows are set by performers, but we set a cap depending on the type of Rogue venue. There are five types of Rogue venues: Gallery, Cabaret, Mainstage, Off-Rogue, and Artist’s Underground. At our Gallery venue (Spectrum) and our Cabaret venues (Goldstein’s and Veni Vidi Vici), ticket prices are capped at $8. At our Mainstage venues (Dianna’s and ViSTA), ticket prices are capped at $12. However, many performers charge less than the maximum allowed. Gallery, Cabaret, and Mainstage venues are managed directly by the Rogue Festival; Off-Rogues and Artist’s Underground venues are not managed by the festival, and they play by their own rules. Off-Rogues (Hart’s Haven and LAByrinth) are venues that have directly booked performers; Artist’ Underground (2nd Space) venues are booked by individual performers who have found a space to perform. Off-Rogue venues can charge the moon if they like, but as it happens, no Off-Rogue show this year is more than $15.

Tickets are available at venues 30 minutes before the performance or tickets can be purchased online at our ticketing website.

Please note that Rogue venues do not accept cash. Tickets can be purchased by credit or debit card. If you simply must use cash, you can pay cash for a Rogue Voucher at the Rogue Store, and those will be accepted at any Rogue-managed venue. Off-Rogues can accept debit, credit, cash, or Rogue Vouchers.

KRL: Can you tell us about this year’s Muse?

2023 Rogue Muse is “Kali n the Kids” by Fresno artist Mike Howe

Jaguar: Every year, the Rogue Festival is symbolized by the Rogue Muse, an original artwork created by a Fresno-area artist to express their personal vision of inspiration and creativity. The 2023 Rogue Muse is “Kali n the Kids” by Fresno artist Mike Howe, and it was unveiled at our Rogue Muse Reveal on Thursday, February 16 at Goldstein’s.

KRL: Will there be a Rogue store this year and if yes, do you know where it will be located?

Jaguar: Yes, Virginia, there is a Rogue Store, and there will always be a Rogue Store as long as little girls need Rogue T-shirts, buttons, and high-quality Rogue-branded tchotchkes, only a few of which are made by sweatshop labor under inhumane working conditions. This year’s Rogue Store will be in the parking lot of the former Chicken Pie Shop at the corner of Olive and Wishon. Look for the sketchy white van selling what looks like contraband goods out the back.

KRL: Do you have a show this year? If yes, please tell us a bit about it? I thought I might as well throw in a plug for you too!

Jaguar Bennett

Jaguar: Are you kidding? It would be absolutely insane of me to try to write and perform an original stand-up comedy show while also producing the Rogue. Fortunately for the millions of Jaguar Bennett fans out there, I am, in fact, absolutely insane. My show this year is We’re Doomed: A Very Short Guide to the Future, and can be seen at Veni Vidi Vici.

I have never been more pessimistic about the future — we’re facing a hellscape world of global warming, fascist politics, runaway AI, and killer robots. There is no hope. The human race will soon be extinct. However, I am determined to make jokes right to the very end. This will be a very funny show. And you might as well laugh, because there isn’t a damn thing you can do to stop the inevitable collapse of civilization.

KRL: Where can people find this year’s festival online?

Jaguar: Because the Rogue is extravagant, we essentially have two websites. You can find show descriptions and times at You can also find show descriptions, show times, and actually buy tickets at our Ticketleap site,
Plus, you can find us on social media at,, and

KRL: Any tips for a first time Rogue Festival attendee?

Jaguar: The Rogue can be overwhelming, so start with a plan. Get a Rogue Program, which will be available two weeks before the festival at many Tower District venues. There are 170 different performances by 40 different acts, so you have a lot to choose from. Rogue shows happen from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and from 2:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekend days. Some “Roguers” like to stay at one venue all day and see all the shows there; others like to move from venue to venue. Rogue shows are only an hour long and there is only a half-hour space between shows, so you can pack a lot of Rogueing in one day. All Rogue venues are within walking distance in the Tower District, so you can get to any venue on time for the next performance.

The Rogue encourages artists to present their most original, most daring, most individual work, so all Rogue shows are delightfully unique. Some Rogue performances are sublime; some will leave you wondering “What the heck was that?” Some Rogue shows are great for kids, and some are only for grown-ups; please pay attention to the G to Adults-Only ratings for each show.

Since not every Rogue show is for everyone, feel free to be selective, and Rogue as much or as little as you want. When you have your Rogue program, select which shows you know you will want to see. Be sure to catch all the shows you know you will love. Create a schedule for yourself where you can catch all of them and be sure to leave yourself some time to get a bite to eat or a drink and argue with your friends about what you just saw.

However, I also encourage first-time “Roguers” to step outside their comfort zone. Give yourself some space to take some wild chances. See at least one show in a style or genre that you don’t usually see! If you’re strictly a theater person, catch a band, a magician, or a comedian. If you’re coming for the bands, see a play or a dance performance. You may find a new favorite.

See at least one Rogue show that you are 100% positive that you will simply hate. You may indeed hate it – and that’s OK! But you may find that absolutely surprising show that changes your perspective on everything.

Whether you love or hate the Rogue shows you see, leave a review on the Rogue website at!

KRL: Anything you would like to add?

Jaguar: The Rogue Festival is now in its 22nd year. We’ve survived for over two decades because we perform an invaluable purpose. The Rogue Festival is one of the few places in the Central Valley where you can see completely uncensored art. The Rogue staff doesn’t select what’s in the festival; performers are selected by a completely random lottery. The Rogue staff doesn’t control the content of the festival; performers are free to put on any kind of show they want, good or bad, innocent or raunchy, frivolous or profound.

The Rogue staff doesn’t say what shows are good or bad; you, the audience, decide what quality is by your patronage and your reviews. At a dangerous time when politicians are banning books, silencing teachers and erasing history, the Rogue Festival remains a fortress of unrestrained free speech that celebrates the power of outsider art to challenge society.

We also have several Rogue Festival Performer Preview articles going up over the next two weeks! You will be able to find all of them in our Rogue Festival category and you can find more info on our Rogue Festival event page over on KRL News and Reviews. Watch for our Rogue Festival show reviews starting the first weekend!

If you love local theatre, be sure to check out Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors. You can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, and also on podbean.

Check out more theatre reviews & other local entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section. You can also find more theatre coming up on KRL’s Local Theatre event page.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and a contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet. Lorie’s latest mystery novel, One of Us, is set in the Tower District of Fresno and the world of community theatre!<


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