Six-week submissions period opens Wednesday, March 16

Free kick-off birthday party showcases work of Fringe photographers

Rochester, NY – Show submissions for the 2016 First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival (Thursday, September 15 – Saturday, September 24) will open in two weeks from today, on Wednesday, March 16 EST at 9 a.m. through Saturday, April 30 at midnight EST. All artists, arts organizations and producers interested in presenting a show in any genre (children’s, comedy, dance, multidisciplinary, music, spoken word, theatre, visual arts & film) at the fifth annual Fringe may apply starting then via only.*

To celebrate this milestone fifth year, the Fringe is presenting a FREE, kick-off birthday party on Wednesday, March 16 from 5:30-7:30 PM at Black Button Distillery (85 Railroad Street, at the entrance to the Public Market). LET’S PUT ON A SHOW! will showcase four years of Fringe photography by noted Rochester photographers Erich Camping, John Schlia, Kelli Marsh and more. The open-house/happy-hour event will also feature free samples of Black Button products as well as a cash bar, free distillery tours, and free munchies including birthday cake. For more information, please visit

“We’re looking for Fringe No. 5 to be our most inventive yet, so we hope that artists will get an early start on dreaming up some extra-creative ideas,” says Fringe Producer Erica Fee. “We’re especially interested in encouraging site-specific work, such as last year’s shows in parked cars, a hot tub, a pup tent, and more – the possibilities are endless and exciting!”

Unlike most U.S. fringe festivals, there is no fee to apply to the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival, and the registration fees (ranging from $50-$150) are due only after the contract with a venue is finalized.  Fringe has added a new, lower tier of registration fees this year in addition to its traditional $100 (one performance) or $150 (multiple performances) levels. For venues with 99 seats or less, the registration fee is $50 for single or free shows, and $75 for multiple, ticketed performances. Registration fees go toward the show’s inclusion in the program guide and website, a centralized box office, and more. *Submissions – unless site-specific – go directly to Fringe venues, which are responsible for booking shows. The Fringe itself books only headliners and free entertainment.

More about Fringe: Since its debut in 2012, the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival has become one of the most successful fringe festivals in the U.S., attracting more than 63,000 attendees in 2015. This 10-day, multi-arts festival now boasts over 500 performances and events – more than a quarter of which are free – in 25+ venues in downtown Rochester, NY. Celebrating and inspiring creativity, the Fringe – which is partially curated by the festival and partially by festival venues – includes everything from theatre, music, comedy and dance, to children’s entertainment, spoken word, visual arts and much more.

Rochester Fringe Festival is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation that exists as a means to connect venues, performers, artists, educational institutions and the audience. It was pioneered by several of Rochester’s esteemed cultural institutions, including Geva Theatre Center, the George Eastman House and Garth Fagan Dance, as well as up-and-coming groups like PUSH Physical Theatre and Method Machine. The Board of Directors includes representatives from the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, Bond Schoeneck & King PLLC, Boylan Code LLC, the Eastman School of Music, Mengel, Metzger and Barr & Co. LLP, Method Machine, PUSH Physical Theatre, and Writers & Books. The Rochester Fringe Festival is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. This festival is also supported by a grant awarded to the Rochester Fringe Festival by New York State’s Empire State Development and I LOVE NY  / NYS Division of Tourism under Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council Initiative.

Fringe Sponsors include: First Niagara, I LOVE NY, the New York State Council on the Arts, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, and the New York State Legislature, University of Rochester, RIT, Ames Amzalak Memorial Trust, Rochester Area Community Foundation, Waldron Rise Foundation, the Elaine U. & Richard P. Wilson Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, City of Rochester, Monroe County, Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC, Boylan Code LLC, Mengel Metzger Barr LLC,  Wegmans, Nocon & Associates, the Mary Mulligan Trust, Ronald Fielding, SUNY Geneseo, The Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation, The Pike Company, East Avenue Inn & Suites, CITY Newspaper, 10 NBC, Democrat and Chronicle, Broccolo Tree & Lawncare, McCarthy Tents & Events, Scott Grove, Buckingham Properties, Genesee, Dundee, Heineken, Nazareth College, SUNY Brockport, Fred & Floy Willmott Foundation, Louis S. & Molly B. Wolk Foundation, Konar Enterprises, VisitRochester, House of Guitars, The Rubens Family Foundation, City Blue, Yelp!, WXXI, Gallina Development, G.H. Cretors Popped Corn, Benderson, Hamilton AV, Rural Metro, Kids Out and About, ESL Foundation, Wilson Foundation, Midtown Athletic, YMCA of Greater Rochester, Gouvernet Fund at the Rochester Area Community Foundation, and others.

First Niagara, through its wholly owned subsidiary, First Niagara Bank, N.A., is a multi-state community-oriented bank with approximately 390 branches, $40 billion in assets, $29 billion in deposits, and approximately 5,400 employees providing financial services to individuals, families and businesses across New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. For more information, visit