Rockford Fringe Festival is a GO!

Rockford Fringe Festival host: Rebecca Ann Carver.

The Rockford Fringe Festival will take place on Saturday, July 9 from noon-6:00 p.m. at Walker Park in the city’s 3rd Ward. This free outdoor event is part of the City of Rockford’s Forward for Fun initiative. If you are interested in performing, fill out this form. Hurry! The official lineup will be announced on or before June 15.

Shorter performances work best, but you can submit a show that lasts up to 40 minutes. You are encouraged to submit plays or performances that explore serious topics but we this is an outdoor event and we will not tolerate profanity or any content containing vulgar, racist, sexist or supremacist language. All plays, performances, and content must be your original work.

The Rockford Fringe will be hosted by comedian, actor and model Rebecca Ann Carver. Comedy songmaker, music director, composer and broadcaster Robbie Ellis will be featured as the opening musical act.

Comedy songmaker Robbie Ellis will kick off the Rockford Fringe Festival with a free all-ages performance.

There is no fee to participate and the festival is free and open to the public.

Thank you to the following sponsors and community partners for their support: Rockford Writers’ Guild (official); City of Rockford; Community Foundation of Northern Illinois; Hard Rock Casino; Fehr Graham; Northwestern Illinois Building Trades Unions; Rockford Area Convention & Visitors’ Bureau; 89.5 FM WNIJ; Chicago Dramatists; Naked Angels Tuesdays@9 Chicago; Rockford Area Arts Council.

If you have any questions, email the Rockford Fringe Festival producer at connievkuntz@gmail.com. Learn more on our Facebook Page at Rockford Fringe Festival.

Rockford Fringe Festival pitched to City Council

Before the meeting.

I didn’t fight City Hall. I cheerfully went there last night to pitch the Rockford Fringe Festival to City Council during the “public comments” section of the weekly meeting. I was the fourth public speaker so they were good and bored by the time it was my turn.

I spoke my piece and then peaced out. On my way out, my alderman Chad Tuneberg told me he had other pitches to consider but he’d let me know soon. In order to move forward, I have to get pre-approved by Tuneberg. Then I can apply for the grant. After that, I wait for approval. And then I start planning the event. Many steps, many steps; you can see why it’s important to be proactive.

My short speech was a drop in the bucket of getting things rolling, but, like all drops, important. Every little moment counts and there is nothing wrong with using the public comments to say you want to do something that is legitimately good for the city.

Thanks for reading my blog. If you’d like to read my speech, it’s below. -Connie

My speech

Good evening,

I am Connie Kuntz and I live in the 3rd Ward with my husband and our children. Firstly, my family and I thank you for your excellent service to our city and for allowing me time to speak.

Secondly, on Friday, I learned about the Forward for Fun initiative and was immediately excited about the possibility of producing the 1st Annual Rockford Fringe Festival.

The Fringe would be an outdoor theatre festival that would take place July 8-10, 2022 at Walker Park in the 3rd Ward.

Over the course of the weekend, several local and regional theatre artists would perform their self-produced family-friendly plays, one after the other, on an outdoor stage.

This kind of “drop-in” theatre is fun, smart and inclusive. It always draws diversity and variety.

Economically speaking, theatre people love exploring their environments. The Fringe would generate income for nearby small businesses as well as our illustrious downtown. It would draw intelligent, experienced and educated artists to the 3rd Ward.

I am pitching the Rockford Fringe Festival to you now because in order to move forward, my next step would be to apply for the Forward for Fun grant. In order to do that, I first need approval from my 3rd Ward Alderman Chad Tuneberg.

Alderman Tuneberg, I emailed you on Saturday and it has my contact information in it. I am also leaving it here as I humbly request your approval to apply for the grant.

Without further ado, I thank each of you for your attention and consideration.

***

Will the forest city have a fringe festival?

Jesse surveying Walker Park (formerly Walker Elementary School) for a potential fringe festival.

There is a new initiative in town called “Forward for Fun” where every one of the Rockford’s 14 wards is being allocated several thousands of dollars in grant money for creative projects. I learned about this on Friday and was immediately excited. I talked to Jesse about it and he felt the same way. We have a certain calling for planning and executing public art-based events.

One of the first steps to acquiring a FFF grant is to float your idea past your alderman so yesterday, I pitched a Rockford Fringe Festival to Chad Tuneberg. In an email, I told the Republican it would take place at Walker Park the weekend July 8-11 with July 7 reserved for invite-only rehearsals. The outdoor event would embrace and offer diversity and variety in the form of an exciting lineup of live theatre. Gimme!

Maybe we could connect to this for electricity?

In a nutshell, I’d book several self-produced plays that would run one after the other on an outdoor stage that weekend. A weekend of seeing numerous original plays in one area could be a lot of fun. I invited the alderman to talk in person about this. There are many details to iron out including port-o-potties, electricity sources, fencing, food trucks, stage set-up, etc.. We’ll see what happens.

Last week, I applied for a different grant for a simpler project. It’s a small $500-grant and it would help me organize the 2nd Annual Winter Solstice Poetry Caroling event. Even if I am not awarded the grant, it’s not too soon to ask you to mark off Wednesday, December 21, 2022 for poetry caroling! Save the date!

Of course, I’ll continue to create and organize free, public events until I die but it would be nice to have some city funding and publicity behind them. Right now I solely rely on social media to get the word out. It just isn’t enough and has a desperate feeling to it.

But I’m not desperate; I’m compelled. There’s a difference. At least that’s what I tell myself.

It’s a short blog today, one that’s more of an update than anything. The reason is because Naked Angels Tuesdays@9 is resuming in person on March 22 (hallelujah!) and I’m part of the writer lineup so I need to focus my efforts on playwriting. I don’t want to kick off our live event with bad writing!

Until I get my play written, I’ll be posting very short blogs for the next several days. Until then, thank you for reading! -Connie