PORTSMOUTH — The Boneyfiddle Fringe Festival is set to bring unconventional performance art to Portsmouth June 16th through June 18th at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts.
Promising a wide array of performance art which does not fit neatly into a single artistic box, the Boneyfiddle Fringe Festival will offer alternative artistic experiences which local residents may not otherwise be able to access.
And that’s the kind of artistic accessibility that the people of Portsmouth deserve, according to Summer Logan who originated the idea for the festival along with collaborators at Shawnee State University and Bone & Fiddle Arts Collective.
“I got kind of a wild hair to say ‘guys, we can do this here. We have the space, we have the connections, and we have the people that we can build a festival like this here. Nothing has ever happened like this here,” explained Logan.
From there, Logan began enlisting collaborators from her rich experience in dance and movement, and other artists followed suit.
This year’s Fringe Festival contains eclectic and genre defying work from dancers, musicians, painters, sculptors, filmmakers and many other artists from all over the county, some as far as New York City, according to Logan.
T.R. Beery, Adjunct Faculty with Shawnee State University and Fringe Festival collaborator, says that the debut festival last year set the stage for future Fringe Festival success.
“We’d already had people interested so we just very quickly made it happen, and it was very good; the people who attended really enjoyed it, it was really well received, and we had world class performers come in to do this. The goal with all of this was to make sure no matter what we do it’s the highest quality of whatever it is [the artist] is doing,” said Beery.
Such renowned artistic experiences would typically be seen for a much higher price point in other areas, but Fringe Festival promises to bring a packed calendar of avant garde performance art for an affordable price.
Although visitors may purchase tickets for individual concerts or performances, a weekend pass for the duration of the festival is available through the McKinley Box Office for only $20.
Logan hopes that this will encourage visitors to spend the weekend at the festival, enjoying its buffet approach to unconventional artistic pieces.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to have this snowball get bigger and bigger. We have lots of artists who are really excited to come and do these things, now it just feels like [the challenge is] getting the word out to the public,” Logan said.
Though the artistic nature of the term “fringe” can be difficult to define, Beery and Logan agree that it encompasses unconventional art pieces that feel too complex for any one label or genre. Often, artwork at the Fringe Festival is intersectional and encompasses dissimilar genres in a way which is heavily experimental.
“Fringe festivals by default are kind of weird. The art pieces that wouldn’t necessarily be economically viable, they wouldn’t necessarily sell out theaters, so the fringe festival is a way of pooling these people who are into this disparate disciplines to pull them together in order to have a larger audience, and to have cross germination [with other artists and genres] as well,” Beery explained.
In addition to the calendar of events included with a weekend pass, three masterclasses taught by visiting or resident artists are available for individual purchase. Centralized themes of dance, movement, and music anchor these masterclasses, but the methods are naturally experimental.
Beery, for example, is offering a masterclass entitled “DIY Electronics: Making Noise on a Budget.” Those taking the class will learn how to make unconventional music from conventional items found in junk stores or thrift shops.
Tickets for masterclasses are available for purchase through Bone & Fiddle Arts Collective online at bone-fiddlearts.com. They are open to all participants aged 14 or older and are only $10 per class.
For Logan, the Fringe Festival offers the community a change to access and enjoy art which is just as complex as they are. As an Appalachian, she knows that societal labels don’t often tell the whole story, for art or for people.
“I feel like we as Appalachians have been so beat down and told that we are one thing; that we have to fit into this box and that we can’t do some things. That’s never true, it’s just what people want to take from us. I’m hoping that these new generations know that it’s okay to be ‘the other,’ and we are going to do some really cool stuff as ‘the other,’ and not be ‘othered’ by other people,” Logan said.
To purchase tickets and view the calendar of events, follow the Boneyfiddle Fringe Festival 2022 on Facebook or online at: bone-fiddlearts.com/boneyfiddle-fringe-festival. Multiday passes are $20 and can be purchased through the McKinley Box Office at the VRCFA by phone, in person, or online at vrcfa.com.
The Boneyfiddle Fringe Festival begins on Thursday, June 16th at 5pm and runs through June 18th at the VRCFA.
Reach Kasie McCreary at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at [email protected]
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