The arts world thrives in Fairbanks, and summer offers its share of performances, concerts and events to fill your cultural need while in Interior Alaska. Many of the productions feature local performers as well as guest artists who travel to Fairbanks for a chance to perform on our stages. Here’s a look at some of the biggest arts events of this summer.
Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre
Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre was founded on the banks of the Chena River in 1992 and has grown into a year-round production company. Each summer, the troupe performs a summer outdoors production at Jack Townshend Point on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. This summer, the theater is producing “MacBeth,” directed by Rebecca George. Dates are July 10-28, Thursdays through Sundays. Evening performances are at 7:30 p.m., and matinees are at 2 p.m. See www.fairbanksshakespeare.org for ticket information.
Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival
The Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival is a two-week event that spans every facet of the arts — song, theater, improv, dance, music, spoken word, culinary, healing arts, writing and more. Local artists and instructors as well as guest artists from across the world come to Fairbanks to teach classes and host performances at venues throughout the city and region.
Residents and visitors are encouraged to sign up for classes, which can be found on the festival’s website, www.fsaf.org. The site also lists performances that take place across Fairbanks, many of which are free to attend. The festival started in 1980 as a one-week jazz festival. Since then, it’s grown and spread, not only across Fairbanks but also Alaska. Visiting artists often host performances in Denali National Park and Preserve as well as in other Alaska communities. The festival is one of the premier arts events during the summer and runs July 14-28.
The Fairbanks area is rich in live music, with many bands and performers playing gigs in public venues that are accessible to all.
The Fairbanks Arts Association hosts Gazebo Nights, with live music every night of the week all summer under the gazebo in Pioneer Park, 2300 Airport Way, starting in June and running through August. Genres span everything from classical to bluegrass. At Georgeson Botanical Garden, 2178 W. Tanana Drive on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus, musicians gather for the Music in the Garden series, hosted by the university’s Summer Sessions program.
Music in the Garden is every Thursday starting May 23 and running through Aug. 9, and features a slate of performers and genres. In Golden Heart Plaza in downtown, musicians and bands gather to perform on Mondays during the public marketplace hosted by Festival Fairbanks. Gazebo Nights, Music in the Garden and the Golden Heart Plaza performances are all open to the public and free to attend.
Also, many local pubs and entertainment spots host touring bands as well as local musicians all summer. You can find a weekly listing each Thursday of art, entertainment and music events in Latitude 65, the weekly entertainment section produced by the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.