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You Review: Fuse Fest 2012

Another Fresno Sound Experience is in the books. Fresno’s annual all-local festival gave music lovers plenty to see and hear over the weekend — with 40 bands on 10 stages Friday and Saturday. Below is a video featuring 11 bands that I saw on Saturday night: Before Perils, Restaurnaut, Strawberry Jam, The Dirty Stomp, Back in the Valley, Achievement House, The Overdubs, Niilo Smeds, B. Rawcity, Sunburns and The General Populus.

Now here’s the discussion point: What did you think of the festival? In its fifth year, has Fuse Fest hit its stride? Does it still have some improvement to do? What would you like to see done better? What could make Fuse Fest reach out past the “usual suspects” and the get the whole city to rally behind it?

The people I talked to Saturday night were handing out both praise and ideas on how to make the festival better. So what do YOU think? For more on Fuse Fest, read recaps over at Fresno Famous and The Fresnan.

Responses to "You Review: Fuse Fest 2012"

Stephen says:

I loved MOST of it.

The publicity is poor. It seemed like only band friends and the ‘usual suspects’ attended. I would love to see more venues with 2 stages where the one band stops just as the next band starts, so audience members can immediately hear another band.

The “fishbowl” (the terrazo of the Warnor’s Theatre) is cool, but with only one gate open it sure didn’t seem crowd-friendly.

I really like having non-music venues be FUSE venues. Tokyo Gardens is awesome always, and might be fun for an after-hours, but I really loved the outdoor stage at CMAC, the fishbowl with Frank’s Place so nearby, with Fresno Brewing Co just a short walk away. I missed when all the venues were just short-short walks away, but that’s the breaks.

What I disliked the most were the few bands that flaked the gig. Seriously???

And the other thing I’d love to see happen as part of the 2-stage per venue thing? No downtime (or less downtime) between bands.

The #1 complaint I heard was from people who wished the FUSE lasted more days so they could hear more bands. Trying to schedule their schedules, the patrons really had to hustle if they wanted to get in full sets from the bands they wished to see.

To me, it just keeps getting better and better and has miles to go to keep growing.

blake says:

[disclaimer, I work with the festival and thus may have my own slanted viewpoints..]

For my own selfish enjoyment, The FUSE gave me the opportunity to see a couple of bands that I always enjoy (Sunburns, It’ll Grow Back to name just two) AND let me add 3 new bands to my ‘favorites’ list: Gail & The Bowties, I Don’t Exist and Before Perils. In *that* sense, I would rate FUSE a success for me as a consumer.

[and I agree w/ the commentor who *wished* they coulda seen more...but that's also part of the excitement...there's so much going on, you can not possibly see everyone.]

To touch on a couple of the talking points, I do think that FUSE always has been a little on the ragged side with little issues popping up and a few folks hopping around to try and make things work.
I’m not sure if I’m being specific enough, but whereas The Rogue Festival was invented by Theater People (and has a leg-up on the presentation side), FUSE Fest was invented by Music People and falls together a little more losely..like a club gig. [Though still, if you look at the bare-bones...I think it's solid: you get lots of good bands that run pretty darn close to on-schedule.]

* Getting beyond the ‘usual suspects’:…this is a universal problem of the artsy folks putting on shows in the Tower/Downtown. I’m sure FUSE’d love to hear ideas and get help on this one.
I DID see and meet a few people who told me that they’d been curious and thought they should give it a try, and I did see a nice mix of folks: a wide age-range of attendees was apparent.
To the FUSE’s credit, there was an appearance on Great Day and a sponsorship w/ lotsa public service announcements on KVPR (local public radio)..both of these being outreaches beyond the usual universe of the very beloved crew of KFSR/KFCF/FRESNOBEE/LOCALCOOLBLOGS etc.

but yeah, growth in the PR world would be cool—who wants to volunteer to help?? Hop on board!

Jeffresno says:

Nice sampling of musicians here, Mike! Here’s a link to my FUSE review on my blog:
http://jeffersonbeavers.com/2012/09/11/concert-review-fuse-fest-2012/

Of the shows I caught at FUSE, Restaurnaut was definitely my favorite. Great songwriting and just an all-around gracious performer. My vote for most improved goes to Brian Robinson, aka B Rawcity. With the addition of a full band, his sound has evolved a ton since I saw him at FUSE 2011.

As for suggestions for the festival, I do have a few:

– The limitations of the Fulton 55 sound system do not bode well with so many artists plugging and unplugging throughout the night. The hot mic on the Coffeehouse Stage vocals was especially poor.

– Loved the addition of CMAC as a venue. I got to watch Abigail Nolte’s band play live while sitting around at home! Only criticism was the distance between the performers and the audience at the outdoor stage.

– I agree with Stephen about the Warnors fishbowl stage. It’s too crowded (and HOT) when it’s caged in.

Finally, big thanks to the Creative Fresno board and all the FUSE musicians, volunteers, and fans. As a FUSE hopper, I had great a great experience all around!

Ryan says:

I thought the turn out at Fresno Brewing Company was phenomenal and overall, the festival exceeded our expectations in our first year playing FUSE.

We enjoyed checking out the other bands and look forward to a growing Fresno scene and a downtown full of great venues in the future.