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Rochester Fringe Festival Begins Very Soon

In the Community: From Rochester Fringe Festival

International male and female students covered faces books in library. Multiethnic highschool students prepares a joint project in cafe. Photo from

The 2022 Rochester Fringe Festival opens on Tuesday, September 13 and runs for 12 days through Saturday, September 24. During that time, there will be more than 500 performances and events in downtown Rochester – including more than 150 free shows – in more than 30 venues.

With so many options, the free, 112-page Fringe Guide is the best way to plan out a show-hopping strategy – became available Wednesday, August 17 in more than 50 Rochester locations. Visit for the full list.

The Rochester Fringe Festival, from its five-day debut in 2012, the 12-day Rochester Fringe Festival has become the largest multidisciplinary performing arts festival in NYS and one of the top three attended Fringe Festivals in the U.S. More than 500,000 people have attended nearly 4,000 performances and events at the Rochester Fringe Festival since its inception.

It is one of about 250 Fringe festivals in the world, with Edinburgh being the original Fringe. Rochester Fringe Festival’s mission is to offer a platform for artists to share their creativity and develop their skills while also providing unparalleled public access to the arts. The Fringe strives to be diverse and inclusive, and to stimulate downtown Rochester both culturally and economically.

It features international, national, and local artists. From comedy to theatre, from music to dance, from visual art and film to spoken word, and from children’s entertainment to multi-disciplinary collaborations, the festival’s diversity also extends to venues that span the gamut from parked cars to grand theaters. The 2019 Fringe featured more than 650 performances and events – over 200 of them free – in 25+ downtown venues and broke all previous attendance records with more than 100,000 visitors.

The non-profit Rochester Fringe provides two weekends of major, free, outdoor entertainment for all ages:

  • Friday & Saturday on the Fringe (Sept. 16 & 17) will feature The Flying Españas in Flippin Metal Circus, an adrenaline-pumping WORLD PREMIERE that fuses feats of daring with death-defying acrobatics and heavy metal, all set to a live soundtrack from NYC-based band Mountain Girl. The Flying Españas are a renowned fifth and sixth-generation circus troupe who are widely accepted as having modernized the art of the trapeze – show elements will include a flying trapeze, Wheel of Destiny, and even a 200-foot motorcycle highwire. DJ ha-Meen will entertain before and after the performances.
  • Fringe Finale Weekend (Sept. 23 & 24) will feature the much-anticipated return of vertical performers BANDALOOP, who will use climbing technology to dance on the side of 21-story Five Star Plaza at 100 Chestnut Street as crowds watch from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park. California-based BANDALOOP was a massive hit at Fringe in 2012 and 2013, attracting tens of thousands, and has performed everywhere from the Seattle Space Needle and the New York Stock Exchange to Yosemite’s El Capitan. Also: Fringe Street Beat – the annual all-styles dance and breakdancing competition featuring teams from all over the Northeast competing for a cash prize, hosted by DJ ha-MEEN – and KIDS DAY activities on Saturday, Sept. 24.
  • The Spiegelgarden, a public, pop-up, outdoor lounge at One Fringe Place (corner of East Main and Gibbs Streets), is home to the Box Office, info and merch tents, food trucks, the Theatre Bar, bathrooms, and more. It also houses Pedestrian Drive-In – a free, nightly, big-screen movie series. Gospel Sunday returns on Sunday, Sept. 18.

All venue-curated performances and events at The Little, RIT City Space, and Java’s Café are also free.

TICKETED HEADLINERS, which are Fringe-produced, include:

  • Cirque du Fringe: Afterglow, which runs all 12 nights of Fringe in the Spiegeltent, is an all-new WORLD PREMIERE from Matt Morgan and Heidi Brucker Morgan, back together at Fringe for the first time since 2019. The all-new cast of Cirque du Fringe: Afterglow will feature renowned international artists.
  • From the hive mind of Rochester Fringe comes Late & Live (Sept. 16 & 17), hosted by Fringe favorite and physical comedian Mark Gindick (Cirque du Soleil, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and The Late Show with David Letterman). This all-new, one-of-a-kind, artists’ cabaret show in the Spiegeltent will feature different Rochester Fringe performers both nights – all performing (potentially! raucous!) snippets from their individual shows to offer festival goers a sneak peek of the shows occurring at various venues.
  • During the final weekend (Sept. 23 & 24), the hit Shakespeare-inspired, comedy show Shotspeare returns, by popular demand! Last performed in-person live at the 2019 Rochester Fringe and in 2020 with an online version, this year’s show features Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. Equal parts bacchanal and classical theater, Shotspeare takes the world’s most beloved playwright, soaks him in beer, and flips him on his head. The show has garnered rave reviews from New York, Las Vegas, Adelaide Fringe, and previous Rochester Fringe engagements.
  • Silent Disco, a total sell-out every year, will close each Friday and Saturday in the glamorous Spiegeltent with a giant dance party powered by a three-channel system and live DJs that let dancers switch up the music (and mood) at the touch of a button.

The complete list of venues for both Fringe-produced and artist & venue-produced shows can be found on the Rochester Fringe website. Some venues include One Fringe Place (location of Spiegeltent and Spiegelgarden), Parcel 5, Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, Aerial Arts of Rochester, Joseph Avenue Arts and Cultural Alliance, RIT City Art Space, The Theatre @ Innovation Square, Writers & Books and more.

Site specific locations include: City Blue, Ellison Park, Mt. Hope Cemetery, ROC City Circus, St. Joseph’s Park, The Strong National Museum of Play, and Third Presbyterian Church.

To purchase tickets and find the most updated info, go to