Fairgrounds and Festivus at the Fusebash Fundraiser

Carnival-themed event will help keep the Fusebox Festival free

Fusebash 2021 (Photo by Sarah Annie Navarette)

Fusebash, the annual fundraiser for the returning Fusebox Festival, will be bringing the thrill of the sideshow next weekend. Festivus for the Restivus will be held at the historic Jourdain-Bachman Pioneer Farms on Feb. 26, and will be carnival-themed, with a three-story Ferris wheel, carnival games, and live music from Golden Dawn Arkestra, and DJ Loulou of Night Glitter and Thievery Corporation. "And of course," Chloé Carcamo, Fusebox director of marketing and outreach, said, "what would a soiree be without food? So we have all that paired with cuisine from L'Oca d'Oro, Olamaie, and Leroy and Lewis chefs. So definitely a night to remember."

Fusebash helps ensure that Fusebox (scheduled for April 13-17) can be free for all to attend. Carcamo explained, "Our motivation is to just make new and adventurous art accessible [and] the fundraiser helps us ensure that our five days of the festival is 100% free to attend for everyone." This year's Fusebox will be the 18th and marks a return to in-person performance. In 2020, the organizers shifted the festival online and canceled the 2021 event completely. "At the core of what we bring is this live shared experience between the audience and artists," Carcamo said. "We wanted to wait until it was a better time to bring that back."

Fusebox itself focuses on bringing local, national, and international artists to Austin. Across 60 performances, 150 artists will work on live art such as film, theatre, dance, visual art, literature, and music, and all of it will be free because of the money raised at events like Fusebash.

The fundraising goal for Fusebash is $230,000, and the majority of that money goes to the Fusebox performers and creatives. "We believe in paying artists," Carcamo said. "We were founded by artists. They are central to what we do."

When people attend either the fundraiser or the festival, Carcamo said they want to bring everyone together after all the world has been through over the past few years. "We come to think of putting on these festivals as an act of community building. Not only our partnerships with organizations and venues, but with audiences and with the people and artists that are taking a part of it. [It's] an immersion into art, so using that to help bring us all together and reach a shared headspace and heart space, to experience cool things."

Carcamo added the team wants both events to be continuations of what they did before the pandemic, aiming for "the same feel" they had before but "with this baggage I believe that we all have, and leaving space for that," she said. "Not like 'Oh I want to get back to how it was,' but like 'How can we bring this the same feeling that we had together again, and keep remembering that art and performances is what really engages our spirit and keeps hope for future times?'"

Fusebash, Sat., Feb. 26, 6-11pm, Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms, 10621 Pioneer Farms Dr. Single tickets, $250, tables for $3,500-$5,000. Tickets, info, and COVID-19 protocols at fuseboxfestival.com/series/fusebash-2022.

Fusebox Festival will run April 13-17.

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Fusebash, Fusebox Festival

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