By: Julia Wald
Guest Editor: Vincent Sherry
– Do you like your art infused with edge and sass? If so, you’re in for a treat. The seventh annual Infringement Festival will be under way Thursday, showcasing anything and everything brash, bold and “under-the-radar.”
The uncensored alternative-arts festival, held mostly in Allentown and the Elmwood Village, will feature everything from the avant-garde to political statements. Over 600 artists are participating, exhibiting a variety of talent in media, film, comedy, dance, theater and visual arts.
Its current size may make it harder to believe, but the Buffalo celebration had humble beginnings, starting off as a theater festival with only a handful of acts. However, it has ballooned in the seven years since its inception. This year, festival participants are both local and international, with contributors from Ireland, Italy and Montreal.
There are over 30 Infringement Festivals in the world, and Buffalo is one of five main “Infringement cities.” The inspiration for the free-rein, do-it-yourself arts festival was born in 1947 when artists and actors in Edinburgh, Scotland, protested the Edinburgh International Festival’s entry restrictions. Those rebels, according to Infringement Festival International, gave rise to the term “fringe theater.”
Infringement Festivals typically shun corporate sponsorship as well as any restrictions that limit artistic participation and dialogue. In Buffalo, fundraisers support promotional campaigns and artists so that they never have to pay to participate.
This year’s festival runs through Aug. 1, with the opening and closing events at Nietzsche’s bar at 248 Allen St.
Julia Wald is a student working towards a degree in journalism
and fine arts at a local college. She enjoys biking around Buffalo,
going to concerts, creating art, and writing her music blog.
Vincent Sherry, a Buffalo native, is a
freelance reporter and copy editor. He
also tutors second-language learners of English. He graduated from
Howard University in 2007.