Nov 22, 2019
Fuss Fest creator Priscilla Van Rye fixes the merch display for her booth during the fifth annual Fuss Fest at Tioga-Sequoia Brewery on Friday, Aug 31, 2018.

The music festival that was all the ‘Fuss’

The fifth annual Fuss Fest certainly made a huge ‘fuss’ celebrating femme, women, transgender, queer and non-binary artists during the music and arts’ two-day run on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.

With over a hundred in attendance over the two days, day one kicked off Fuss Fess on Aug. 31 as a free event held at Tioga-Sequoia Brewery in Downtown Fresno featuring live music, local food and art vendors.

Day two was a ticketed event held at Strummer’s consisting mainly of five bands performing. The band lineup consisted of 15 bands – over half were from out of town and the rest local acts.

It’s better than last year, every year it keeps getting bigger,” said Priscilla Van Rye, creator and creative director of Fuss Fest.

With its growing popularity, Van Rye managed to attract outside musical acts from different parts of the country such as “Heavy Stench” from San Jose, “Sheer Mag” from Philadelphia, PA and “Oscura Luna” from Los Angeles.

Van Rye originally created Fuss Fest in 2013 after being frustrated with the lack of femme-friendly spaces in Fresno.

“There was a lot of festivals going on in Fresno that were saying they were all inclusive,” said Van Rye. “But all the bands were mostly males. You’ll find maybe one or two musicians [that were women] on the bill of more than 15 bands.”

The lineup of Fuss Fest represented that inclusive ethos with artists during the festival, such bands as “Sheer Mag,” “Blushh” and local act “Sci-Fi Capers.”

“Fresno sometimes forgets how many amazing women, femmes and queer folks are in the community making art and music,” said Sam Retton, one of the volunteers for Fuss Fess. “I think highlighting them through this fest is really important. Hopefully, more people out there take note.”

When asked of the origin of the name “Fuss Fest,” Van Rye simply said she was making a “fuss” to create a space that was open and welcoming, regardless of their sexuality or gender.

Fuss Fest will return again next year and Van Rye hopes to make it bigger and better.

“I hope we can bring in more people out of town and grow it a little bit more. It’s just going to keep growing and growing.”

This article was produced for the Media, Communications and Journalism 108 course.

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