The Fusebox Festival is celebrating its 19th anniversary April 12th-16th. The five-day art & performance festival will host local, national, and international artists working across a variety of art forms including film, theater, dance, visual art, literature, and music. We invite our audiences to join us at sites across the city, ranging from intimate galleries and theaters, to parks and warehouses. This year we are working with three guest curators on a series of unique projects: Michael Anthony Garcia, Jeff Khan, and Jeannelle Ramirez. View full artist lineup online here.
Wednesday April 12th opens with a bang as we share two world premieres and one US
premiere, as well as a keynote presentation by National Design Winner + author Prem
Krishnamurthy. The world premieres include a wild, unforgettable live performance featuring the
dreamy tropical electronic band Balún in collaboration with the experimental puppetry art
collective Poncili Creación at The Museum of Human Achievement. Meanwhile Ground Floor
Theatre will host award winning Michael J. Love’s (RHY)PISTEMOLOGY! (OR, TO KNOW
THROUGH THE RHYTHM), which traces the foundational Black histories of techno and house
music and maps them onto Love’s choreography. The project also features video and
installation by Ariel “Aryel” René Jackson. The Long Center will host the US premiere of
acclaimed choreographer Amrita Hepi’s latest dance work Rinse, presented in partnership with
Women & Their Work, curated by Jeff Khan with support from the Australia Council.
We are also thrilled to share our recently announced plans for the future. Fusebox and Texas
Performing Arts have forged a significant new partnership that will bring a slate of fresh, unique
performances to the Austin community throughout the year beginning in the fall of 2023. As part of the move to year-round programming, Fusebox’s annual festival will become biennial
following its 20th anniversary edition in April 2024. This shift will allow for deeper development
of new works, longer-term relationships with artists, and planning of larger scale works. The new
biennial festival will continue to take place at sites across the city in 2026 and beyond.
In order to properly support this expanded vision for the future, and in an attempt to keep up
with the economic realities of creating/producing unique live performances in an increasingly
expensive Austin, we are shifting to a paid ticketing model for the festival this year. Tickets will
be offered on a sliding scale model, starting at $20 (with $15 walk-up tickets). Additionally, we
will still offer free performances and events throughout the festival.
As an organization, we continue to prioritize paying artists (our largest festival expense each year), and the introduction of a sliding scale ticketing model will allow us to continue this financial commitment to artists while still embracing our belief in accessibility.
Starting March 14th, tickets will be released in 2 waves. On the 14th a small, limited number of festival passes will be available for sale. A pass gets you early access to advance reservations (one ticket for each show per pass). Following that, on March 28th, individual tickets will go on sale. A limited number of rush tickets ($15) will also be available at the door one hour prior to the start of each performance.
“We began Free Range Art (our initiative that made the entire festival free) eight years ago. It was initially set up as a 3-year experiment. We wanted to see what a free festival would do. We were interested in removing financial barriers but also in imagining a different kind of space for people to gather and encounter art and performance–a space that was really just about sharing ideas and being in the room with each other. We also wanted to carve out a moment in the year that was decidedly not business as usual, and eliminating paid tickets spoke to this strategy. After those first three years we saw a 60% increase in first-time festival goers, and on average our audiences were seeing twice as many things within the festival (a deep level of engagement). So we decided to keep doing it as long as it made sense.
Fast forward to 2022, and our entire festival sold out (even though tickets were free) in less than an hour. In many ways this is a great problem to have. We have a passionate community base that wants to go see everything. The only issue is that it became inaccessible for other folks. So this year, part of our interest in re-introducing paid ticketing is to slow down (even slightly) the velocity with which advance tickets are flying off the shelves. Secondly, coming out of a pandemic that was particularly brutal to the performing arts world, coupled with no Cultural Arts Funding from the City of Austin this past year, coupled with an increasingly expensive environment, we are in real need of a new revenue stream, even a modest one. By adopting a sliding scale ticketing model, including $15 walk-up tickets, we’re trying to remain true to our commitment to accessibility while also generating enough income to stay alive in an ever changing landscape. It’s either that, or close up shop, and we’ve still got too much we want to do. We’ve actually never been more excited about what’s to come as we enter this next chapter of Fusebox.” – Ron Berry, Fusebox Executive + Co-Artistic Director
● (RHY)PISTEMOLOGY! (Michael J. Love): The third installment in Michael J. Love’s The AURALVISUAL MIXTAPE Collection, sees the tap dance artist and an ensemble of collaborators map the foundational Black histories of techno and house music onto improvisation and choreography that envisions an ‘elsewhere’ of liberatory possibilities. (RHY)PISTEMOLOGY! stands as an embodied testimony of the wealth of cultural knowledge stored in Black American forms of movement and music and the generative, life-giving potential available to those who engage in the labor necessary to honor and carry such forms forward. Featuring multimedia video and sculpture installation by Ariel “Aryel” René Jackson. WORLD PREMIERE
● Explosioncita (Balún & Poncili): Buckle up for this wild live performance between
acclaimed tropical electronic band Balún and the experimental puppetry art collective
Poncili Creación. This world premiere performance unfolds through surreal and
spontaneous chapters that evolve fluidly between songs, spaces, and objects exploring
the various chemical transformations of matter. Curated by Jeannelle Ramirez. WORLD
● High Gothic Pageantry LLC: Orientation Conclave (Greedy Peasant): It’s 1423. A
massive medieval pageant is being planned to celebrate the arrival of Blessed John of
Chiaramonte’s incorruptible corpse. The event will take place at our local cathedral, Our
Lady of the Sacred Blood of the Most Holy Martyr. The finest costumes, reliquaries and
passementerie have been conscripted for the occasion. The audience, “hired” as peasant day-laborers, will experience a thrilling medieval staff orientation. No uncomfortable audience participation will occur. That’s a guarantee. WORLD PREMIERE
● Ghost Line X (Rolling Ryot): The beloved Austin-based collective returns to Fusebox
(Rainforest Reverb, Fusebox 2019) with another large-scale sonic experience. Ghost
Line X simultaneously explores the future of transportation through sound, and also the
creative potential of vector sound: sound in linear, bi-directional motion. The project
features a massive 15-channel sound system spanning 400+ feet of Waterloo Park.
Rolling Ryot has commissioned composers from around the world to create musical
compositions specifically designed for this unique sound system. Thematically, the music
is inspired by the past, present, and future sounds of our transportation landscapes.
● Rinse (Amrita Hepi): Amrita Hepi is an award winning dance artist whose work
investigates the body’s relationship to personal histories and archive. Rinse explores the
romance of beginnings and what happens next, when those initial thrills begin to fade
and inertia takes over. Curated by Jeff Khan. US PREMIERE
● Magna Mater (SJ Norman): “Hair is one of the first parts of our bodies to be removed –
cut – by colonizers. In a way, this act of wounding, of laceration, is a prerequisite for
assimilation.” This work documents a durational ritual action performed by a group of 12
inter-connected people, all of whom belong to the artist’s close and extended circles of
friendship and intimacy, all of whom are Indigenous to the so-called American continents
and the Asia-Pacific region. The work inverts a museological and anthropological
fascination with Indigenous bodies by centring acts of consensual intimacy and care
between people, and by connecting Indigenous people through a shared performance
across time and space. Curated by Jeff Khan.
Fusebox is a non-profit arts organization based in Austin, TX. We were founded by a group of
artists in 2005 who wanted to create a robust exchange of ideas across different art forms and
geography, with a particular interest in the live experience. Today Fusebox partners with
organizations all over the world ranging from small grassroots organizations to major art
centers, and we produce two festivals (The Fusebox Festival & Live in America) along with
year-round programming and events.
Mission: Fusebox celebrates the boundless potential of live performance and the unique
possibilities that emerge when we gather.
● bring adventurous performances to thousands of people in Central Texas (and beyond)
through our festivals and year-round programs.
● provide support, resources, and professional development for artists.
● address vital civic issues at the center of contemporary life and culture.
● explore what live performance can be, can do, and look like.
● expand access to live performance through our Free Range Art initiative.
Fusebox Festival 2023 is supported in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts, National
Endowment for the Arts, the National Performance Network, and the Australia Council for the