The Rogue Festival is marking 10 years this year, so we realize many of you already know the drill for navigating the performance scene. But in an effort to help newbies get the hang of the Rogue scene, we’ve updated our annual Rogue FAQ.
Also, to help people get started this weekend, Donald and Mike have each picked shows they think people ought to check out. Feel free to make a case for other shows in the comments. Donald also wrote a great story on Rogue for The Bee’s front page today that gives a wonderful overview of why this festival has become such an important part of the Fresno arts scene.
And remember to check out the Beehive all weekend. Donald, Rick and Heather will be posting reviews (I’m heading out on vacation and Mike is on vacation for another week — so you won’t be hearing from us this week).
What the heck is a fringe festival?
It’s a festival on the fringe of the mainstream. In the case of the Rogue, it’s made up of an assortment of alternative arts — theater, music, dance, film, etc. — none of which are of the highly commercial variety. The festival is nonjuried, which means there’s nobody saying which shows get admitted and which don’t. That gives you a chance to “Choose Your Own Adventure.”
Who are the performers?
Rogue performers range from the touring types, who make a living on the fringe festival circuit, to the local person who was just looking for a place to perform. While most performers are from the Fresno/Clovis area, the Rogue attracts performers from around the country and internationally. You can read about the performances here.
What are the Rogue venues?
There are 17 Rogue venues this year — in the Tower District and downtown Fresno — broken down into categories: Mainstage, CafÃ©, Film, Gallery and BYO (Bring Your Own) Venues. You can find a complete list and map here.
How do tickets work?
The Rogue tries to keep things cheap. Mainstage shows max out at $9 and cafe shows at $5. There are no price restrictions at BYOV shows, but there’s nothing more expensive than $15. A $35 pass allows you in to three Rogue Mainstage shows and two Rogue CafÃ© shows. Most BYOVs accept them. Passes can be acquired under the Tower Theater marquee during the course of the festival.
An important note: Performers at official Rogue venues get 100% of proceeds at the door.
Do I have to buy tickets in advance?
No, you can’t. Tickets go on sale half an hour before performances. But you might have to get there earlier than that to get in line if it’s a popular show.
How do I plan?
The most important thing is to get your hands on a Rogue Map, which you can grab at any Rogue venue. It has descriptions and times of all the shows that are playing, as well as addresses for venues and ticket prices. Being on time is a big deal. Shows start on time, and some don’t allow latecomers. Some only let people in within the first 15 minutes.
How do I know if a show is any good?
You don’t. And that’s half the fun. The Rogue is all about experimentation. You grab a program, read the title and a short description of a show, toss down a few bucks if it sounds interesting, and hope for the best. Sometimes you’ll be thrilled, sometimes underwhelmed. If you want to do some research, you can start with our picks and check reviews of past performances. If you want to wait out the first wave of shows, you can read reviews from this year at Rogue website and here at the Beehive. Also, don’t be shy. Ask people in line at the different shows for recommendations.
Is it kid-friendly?
Somewhat. We’re not going to lie; many of the shows are aimed at a more mature demographic. There are some G-rated shows and some R-rated ones. The best thing to do is flip through the Rogue guide and look at the ratings.
Where do you park?
There’s a lot behind Sequoia Brewing Co. next to the Tower Theatre. The Dollar Tree lot is always good too. Or park on the street. If you’re downtown, be mindful of meters and “no parking” signs.
How did the festival start?
Believe it or not, in a backyard. Rogue founder Marcel Nunis says the genesis of the Rogue was something called “Weed-Whacker Theatre,” which happened in his backyard. The first Rogue was in 2002, at Sanctuary theater in downtown Fresno. Since, it’s gotten bigger every year, growing in venues, performers and attendees. Now in its 10th year, the Rogue is one of the biggest fringe festivals in the West.
What do I do between shows?
Sometimes you might find yourself with an extra hour or two to kill between shows you want to see. Probably the most daring thing to do would be to take a risk on a show that you wouldn’t normally find yourself going to. Sometimes you find the best stuff at the Rogue by stumbling on it. If you’re looking for some R&R, however, stop by one of the places you can find Rogue types hanging out, such as Livingstones, the Starline Grill and Veni Vidi Vici. (These are the best places to pick up word of mouth on what shows are promising.)