Published on July 26th, 2016 | by Brittain Thompson0
Artist Owned Art-er Limits Fringe Fest August 11–14
Every year, August brings us two things you simply can’t miss: Oppressive heat and Oxford’s Fringe Fest. This year’s festival touts nearly 50 performances, workshops, and art installations.
For those unfamiliar with the format, the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council organizes the Fringe Fest each year to showcase what Oxford and the rest of Mississippi has to offer.
“Every year [we’re] offering something new. It’s never the same festival twice,” Said Wayne Andrews, Executive Director of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council. “We’re always looking for ways to engage people and showcase something new…it’s always fun to discover a new artist.”
This year the festival has added an extra day as well as condensing the amount of venues it will be spreading itself across. This year, experiences will be held at Proud Larrys, Shelter on Van Buren, The Armory Pavilion, as well as The Powerhouse itself.
“Currently we have 45 experiences,” said Andrews. “We think we’re gonna hit 50 by the time this is all finalized…we’ve had some artists say they also want to do a workshop.”
New additions this year are tiered passes to the festival. You can purchase a weekend pass for $25 or an all-inclusive pass for $45 that includes access to the three headliners on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Thursday’s headline event will be the Iron Bartender held at The Powerhouse. Each contestant will receive a sealed box containing a variety of liquor and have 30 minutes to create a cocktail.
“Everyone will have access to the same mixers,” said Andrews. “Then [the audience] gets to walk around and taste all the cocktails.”
Friday will feature the annual Secret Show, put on by a committee of local artists. The details and location will be withheld until just hours prior to the event starting.
“It’s going to be very interactive,” said Andrews.
Saturday will bring the VaudeVillains Burlesque Company to The Powerhouse.
“They’re based out of Florida and the only act not directly connected to Mississippi,” said Andrews. “Last year’s Company recommended Oxford so much that [VaudeVillains] wanted to come up this year.”
Fringe Fest will be hosting many events aimed towards writers and publishers. The creators of Dime Magazine will talk about their approach to culture in Mississippi and what their end game is with the magazine and redefining the state. Oxford Writes will host a roundtable event at Shelter on Van Buren.
Shelter will also be hosting a blind book exchange. Each book will be wrapped in paper with its genre and a topic marked. Attendees will be able to take a book for themselves without charge and, if so inclined, leave a book that they have previously wrapped and marked.
Among the nearly 50 experiences are experimental performance artist Three Brained Robot, a contortionist that goes by the name Selia Somethingwith social ties to Mississippi, and the chance to be an extra in a scene for an upcoming Oxford community film.
“Saturday morning on the courthouse lawn, we’re having a crowd scene,” said Andrews. “Just show up, and you can be in a movie.”
As an “artist owned” festival, all proceeds from ticket sales will be split equally among the festival’s entertainers, including The Powerhouse.