Juan Villa / The Collegian
The city of Fresno kicked off one of its fastest growing traditions this weekend as the Rogue Performance Festival 2007 opened in downtown Fresno and the Tower District.
The festival is modeled after â€œfringe festivals,â€? which began in Scotland in 1947 to allow all artists the opportunity to showcase their work. The Rogue Festival has continued these ideas by creating a non-juried arts festival here in Fresno.
Promotions Director and performer Jaguar Bennet has been involved with the Rogue Festival since its beginning in 2002.
â€œWhat youâ€™re getting in the Rogue Festival is not what we or anybody feels is the best, it is what the artists are motivated to bring to you. We believe that the audience is the best judge of quality,â€? Bennet said.
The first Rogue Festival in 2002 featured 16 performers and attracted an audience of more than 1,200 â€” far beyond what founder Marcel Nunis had imagined. In the years following, the festival has gained notoriety and last yearâ€™s event brought in nearly 7,000 spectators.
This yearâ€™s 2007 Rogue Festival began last Thursday and continues through March 10. It features about 100 artists. It has many performers from Fresno, including several Fresno State students.
Among the Fresno State performers are Deanna Pierro and Jessica Taylor. The two have created a new genre of music which Pierro describes as, â€œan organic sound in which we interweave music and spoken word poetry. It is emotionally provocative, candid and meanwhile, musically serenading.â€?
One important thing to remember is that there are multiple venues and shows all occurring at once.
All venues and show times can be found on the Rogue Festival website roguefestival.com. You can also pick up a â€œRogue Mapâ€? at the festival, which has descriptions of shows, a schedule and a venue map.
â€œFor the most part it is eminently walkable. You can get from venue to venue in five minutes or less,â€? Bennet said.
Bennet projects that this yearâ€™s event will bring in close to 8,000 people and he hopes that more Fresno State students will get informed and involved.
â€œThis is a great opportunity to bring together artists and audiences. Students should embrace the rich culture that surrounds them. This entertainment is available year round and the Rogue is a great opportunity to see it all in one place.â€?