Fringe Festival attendance tops 50,000

07:35 PM, Oct 03, 2013

Cirque Du Fringe sold out all 13 performances in the Spiegeltent at the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival. (SHAWN DOWD/ / staff photographer)/


Written By Jeff Spevak | Staff writer

More than 50,000 attended the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival, organizers said Thursday.

The event, in its second year, expanded from five to 10 days, with performances spread throughout 28 venues in downtown Rochester and the Neighborhood of the Arts.

It drew 33,000 in its inaugural year.

The crowd estimates for the fest, which was from Sept. 19 to 28, included 13,000 for the free performance on Sept. 20 of aerial dance group Bandaloop, which performed off the side of the 21-story HSBC building. All 13 performances of Cirque du Fringe sold out the 300 seats in the Spiegeltent, the vintage performance hall set up at the intersection of Gibbs and East Main streets.

Performances in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre by comic Mark Mahon and writer Dave Barry each drew more than 1,200 people, organizers said. Gibbs Street was closed off for the final weekend, a move that was rewarded with fine weather and large crowds that turned out for local bands such as Prime Time Funk and Thunder Body.

Bernunzio Uptown Music crowds grew as the week progressed, said co-owner Julie Schnepf.

We are so happy that our hard work paid off, and that people responded to our extending the festival from five to 10 days this year,” says Fringe producer Erica Fee.

The festival is now working on an economic impact study.

The wide range of entertainment options also included Garth Fagan Dance, the Bill Evans Dance Company, The Rochester Chamber Orchestra, several different takes on Shakespeare, a dog starring in a play and the Silent Disco, with hundreds of feet tromping on the wood floor of the Spiegeltent as they listened to dance music through headphones.