The ABC Guide to Burlesque Festivals 2015: USA Part 1

Our festival guide returns once again, as this time we head Stateside to check out some of our US counterparts’ burlesque fests. Many of you will be familiar with some of the bigger, more well-known festivals such as Burlesque Hall of Fame (BHoF) and The New York Burlesque Festival, but did you know there are actually more than 30 different festivals across the continent which celebrate all things burly-Q? Given that there are so many, we’re going to be covering US festivals over a number of blogs, working through them A-Z so you have a complete guide.

Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Dates: 20-23 August 2015
Years running: 4
Organiser: Gilded Cage Burlesk & Variete
About: Returning for its 4th year, ABurlyQ! has still to announce its full line-up, but promises to have a host of headliners and living legends in a series of fabulous shows. Announced so far is headliner Donna Denise, set to take the stage at the African American Performing Art Center in Albuquerque. In addition to shows, previous years have included workshops too.


Alternatease: The New England Neo-Burlesque Festival
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Dates: 13-15 August 2015
Years running: 3
Organisers: Femme Brûlée, Lolli Hoops, Jane Doe
About: Now entering its 3rd year, the Alternatease festival aims to showcase the bizarre, grotesque and weirdly wonderful side of new burlesque. Last year’s lineup included Darlinda Just Darlinda, Lefty Lucy and Essence Revealed. Applications are currently open for this year’s festival, which will include shows and workshops.

Americana Burlesque & Sideshow Festival
Location: Asheville, North Carolina
Dates: 22-24 May 2015
Years running: 9
Organiser: Future of Tradition
About: Asheville has a burgeoning variety scene which is well-illustrated by the incredible selection of talent in their annual festival, which has been running for almost a decade. Celebrating all things burlesque and sideshow, the festival also has a full programme of workshops going on, covering everything from circus skills to business, burlesque, stage craft and much more. This year’s headliner is Mr Gorgeous, who will also be hosting a number of private workshops.

Arizona Burlesque Festival
Location:Tucson, Arizona
Dates: 15-17 October 2015
Years running: 2
Organisers: Fanny Galore, Matt Finish, Scarlotta Sparkle
About: Entering its 2nd year, the Arizona Burlesque Festival is a 3 day event featuring a showcase and competition. Last year’s headline acts included Ginger Valentine and Lili Von Schtupp, this year’s lineup is yet to be announced but promises to bring an international cast of burlesque stars together for a series of sizzling shows.


Burlesque Hall of Fame
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Dates: 4-7 June 2015
Years running: 25
Organiser: BHoF Team
About: Undoubtedly the most famous and prestigious event in the annual burlesque calendar, the BHoF has been bringing together performers and fans for a quarter of a century now. Every year, hundreds of performers apply to become one of the lucky few offered the chance to showcase their talents at the weekend event and for the opportunity to compete for one of the awards, including the coveted title of Reigning Queen of Burlesque. We dedicated a blog to BHoF last summer, so if you’re interested in learning more about the festival, why not check it out?

Join us again next week, for our next installment in our A-Z of US Burly Festivals.

In the meantime, if you’ve missed any of our previous blogs in The ABC Festival Guide Series, catch up below.

The ABC Guide to Burlesque Festivals 2015: UK

The ABC Guide to Burlesque Festivals 2015: Europe

The ABC Guide to Burlesque Festival Applications