Fringe Festival

Why You Should Attend Milwaukee’s 2nd Fringe Festival This Month

Milwaukeeans can take part in celebrating the city’s vibrant and diverse arts scene in this two-day event.

Showcasing live acts from theater, music, dance and visual arts, the Milwaukee Fringe Festival has something for everyone to get inspired by at one of the city’s most anticipated performing arts festivals. Taking place Saturday, August 26, and Sunday, August 27, at the Marcus Center’s Wilson Theater at Vogel Hall and Todd Wehr Theater, the second annual event will feature more than 25 live acts with free outdoor performances and artist booths in the Marcus Center vicinity.

Milwaukee Fringe Festival 2017
Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Fringe Festival

The festival provides an opportunity for Milwaukee’s emerging artist to connect with the community and to make their mark on the performing arts scene. Director of Operations for MKE Fringe Festival Eric Engelbart says the festival is created by artists, for artists, but he wants everyone to see how Milwaukee’s Performing Arts scene is evolving.

“I think that’s a great opportunity for people who want to be more active in attending artistic performances or seeing galleries, but need a starting point,” Engelbart said. “That’s what makes Fringe Festivals great; they really help to offer a smorgasbord of great work that they can choose from and hopefully find a new favorite thing.”

MKE Fringe Festival will feature Greater Milwaukee Acts, as well as artists from all around the Midwest.

Tontine Ensemble
Tontine Ensemble; Photo courtesy of Carolina Mulvey

Returning to the festival:

Festival newcomers:

“I’m excited to see just about everyone. It’s hard to narrow the list down because we had a ton of submissions and all of them were from really talented and creative people,” Engelbart said. “Project Non-Violence is one of my favorites, though. It’s a group of kids from South Division High School putting on a show that is an artistic expression of their everyday lives. The show’s premise is the kids sharing their experiences in a group therapy session, and will really be a captivating look into their lives.”

The festival will start with a kickoff party at Company Brewing on Friday, August 25. Co-produced with Hear Here Presents, the kickoff party will feature three local bands, visual artists and comedians. “We definitely want to create the most immersive artistic experience possible that provides a platform for as many of Milwaukee’s talented artists as we can,” Engelbart said.

The MKE Fringe Festival helps bring appreciation to the performing arts scene in the area, and the festival is a great way for people to familiarize themselves with the work being done in Milwaukee’s theater scene.

“I think appreciation for performing arts is at an all-time high, but I think it’s tough financially to become a full-time professional artist,” Engelbart said. “Milwaukee is a tremendous city full of people who really appreciate the arts, and I think that our performing arts and visual arts scenes are extraordinary, and that eventually the financial aspect of things will catch up.”



Laura Dickinson is a former dining & culture editorial intern with Milwaukee Magazine. She studies Journalism and Radio-TV-Film at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. There, Laura is currently part of The Advance-Titan News editorial team, and had previously worked at Titan TV and 90.3 WRST-Oshkosh.