Light It Up
Austin's offbeat Fusebox Festival announces big changes including year-round programming
One short fuse in Austin just got a whole lot longer. Fusebox Festival, one of Austin's cooler, more underground annual arts happenings, is undergoing a rebrand that will not only change the tone of programming, but also extend the bi-annual festival to a year-round wellspring of live performance.
Fusebox Festival was previously a handful of days long each year, and its free scheduling in venues across Austin gave pretty normal people a chance at seeing something unusual and ephemeral. Although Austinites love live shows, there is still a rift between a rock concert and city workers learning to dance in unconventional places — and we know which most people are putting on their calendars.
The organization, now simply called Fusebox, will still focus on live performance, and programming will shift both toward more and less frequent shows.
As mentioned, there will now be a year-round schedule, made possible in part through a partnership with Texas Performing Arts, the University of Texas organization that puts on pop concerts, comedy shows, and Broadway in Austin. The year will be divided into quarters, mirroring the common "seasonal" programming among other arts organizations.
But in opposition to this expanding, the festival itself will be cutting back in frequency. After the 20-year anniversary in spring 2024, it'll be produced bi-annually (with the next festival in 2026), meaning that each work shown will have a chance at a much longer lifespan.
"This shift will allow for deeper development of new works, longer-term relationships with artists, and planning of larger scale works," clarifies a press release.
“Fusebox Festival is still very much alive, well, and growing. We have big plans and dreams for the festival, but we felt like we were hitting the edges of what we could do in our old model,” said Fusebox executive and co-artistic director Ron Berry in the release.
“For thousands of people, Fusebox represents their only chance to experience so many of these artists, and we needed a model that allowed for more connection points beyond the five days of our festival," he continued. "This next chapter of Fusebox reflects our expanded vision, and is accompanied by a completely refreshed brand that speaks to the totality of our work, inclusive of our year-round programming and larger community partnerships.”
Other facets of the programming will include:
- Member perks like field trips and discounted tickets
- A one-day annual "un-gala" fundraiser (Fusebash)
- Special programming around the eclipse on April 8
- A social equity-oriented residency program in Arkansas (Live in America)
"This newly aligned strategy and branding is designed to make what’s so unique and irresistible about Fusebox apparent to everyone in our experience-loving city, said Michu Benaim Steiner, CEO of the consulting firm that handled the rebranding project, In-House. The new identity and positioning is a broad invitation to experience moving, indescribable, world-class work that’s proudly presented in Austin."
The next Fusebox Festival is scheduled for April 8-14, 2024. Programming has not been announced yet, but a list of 2023 projects and events is available to browse at fuseboxfestival.com.