Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Buffalo Infringement Festival: Submit, Endorse, Volunteer, Attend

The Buffalo Infringement Festival (BIF) is an 11-day long multi-genre arts festival in Buffalo, NY. 

It is free for all artists to participate, everyone is accepted and artists keep 100% of the profits from their projects and performances. The art that is typically Under the Radar is exemplified. 

The Buffalo Infringement Festival is a non-profit-driven, non-hierarchical grassroots endeavor bringing together a broad range of eclectic, independent, experimental, and controversial art of all forms. Visual, performing, musical, and media arts are all welcome here. Taking place in multiple venues in and around Buffalo’s Allentown District, the festival is an annual eleven-day event running from the last weekend of July through the first weekend of August. 


Every summer, the streets of Buffalo come alive with scores of events by local and visiting theatre and dance companies, puppeteers, media artists, poets, comics, musicians, cabaret acts, digital designers, and miscellaneous insurrectionists. 

The annual Buffalo Infringement Festival provides artists and audiences of all backgrounds the chance to come together, take chances, push boundaries, and explore uncharted territory because exciting art can happen anywhere, anytime, without a blockbuster budget.

The Buffalo Infringement Festival is dedicated to the belief that art has a greater purpose than simply to entertain or simply to make a quick buck. Unfortunately, the modern-day arts world is increasingly degenerated by commercialism, elitism, and close-minded-ness. In this climate, the vast majority of art inevitably grows more and more toothless, perfunctory, and irrelevant. To counter this, we have undertaken the task of clawing out a small niche where artists are free – both ideologically and financially – to create as they wish. 

There are many festivals – nationally and internationally – that seek to promote “alternative art.” But, all too often, these endeavors are a victim of their own success. As they grow in popularity, they become part of the mainstream and, ultimately, suffer from the same commercialism and complacency that they set out to break free from in the first place.  

To ensure that the same fate does not befall our “infringement” festival, we commit to the following ground rules:

1) Artists Participate for Free!  There is no admission fee for artists and artists keep one hundred percent of the money that their project brings in at the door. The festival provides each project with a venue to perform in, three to five performance slots (sometimes more for outdoor events), and listings in our brochure and on our website. All other costs, issues, and needs are left for the artists to tackle of their own accord. 

2) No one is Rejected!  Anyone who gets in a Project Proposal before the submission deadline – as long their project is legal and physically do-able – will be accepted. No one is empowered to judge artists’ work as “worthy” or “un-worthy.” Everything is welcome. 

3) No one is in Charge!  The “infringement” festival is a non-hierarchical collective. There is no salaried staff. There is no official in a suit and tie telling people what to do. No one is making any money off of this (other than, hopefully, the artists). Instead, the festival is organized by a volunteer committee, which is open to anyone who wants in. All decisions are made democratically. 

4) Keep it Cheap!  The only thing our artists are NOT allowed to do is charge too much at the door. In order to foster a non-commercial atmosphere, the maximum admission fee that any “infringement” festival event can charge is $10.00 dollars per ticket. Many “infringement” events are offered on a “pay-what-you-can” basis or through some other alternative admission fee. Artists are strongly encouraged to take this approach. 

What We Will Use the Money For: The biggest thing we do with the money we raise is printing our massive schedule brochure. Each year, as the festival increases in size, so does our schedule. The schedule is the number one way that we help the artists advertise about their shows as it contains a small description of each project and the times/locations where it can be seen.  We get the schedule printed in our local free arts publication, Artvoice. 

They have a circulation of more than 60,000 papers each week. Last year we had to purchase 16 pages of the issue in order to fit our schedule and this year is expected to be even bigger.  We also use the money to print up other promotional materials (postcards, posters, etc.) 

We use these materials to solicit applications, raise awareness and promote the festival. Another thing we do with the money we raise is to create merchandise to sell (T-shirts, stickers, magnets, posters, etc.)  which helps us keep money flowing into our budget from year to year, helping to make the festival self-sustaining. 

We also use some of the money to rent sound equipment and to pay people who are qualified to run that equipment for some of the venues during the festival.  When we have money to pay for these rentals, this helps keep artists from having to contribute their profits to rent their own equipment and to pay sound techs, etc. 

(We have no poets! --> shameful!) 

You have 5 days left!

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED! FEELING COOPED UP? Wanting to do something cool? Then do this!

Keep it alive people, we all know our art is often all we have.




 Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Blog RSS YouTube

No comments: