The 5th Annual Americana Burlesque & Sideshow Festival – Five Years in Asheville!

International Stars, Princess Farhana, Armitage Shanks and Paolo International Stars, Princess Farhana, Armitage Shanks and Paolo Garbanzo, Will Headline.

ABSfest is now in its fifth year of celebrating the Vaudeville Revival.

Since the festival debut, over 2000 people have reveled in the company of our suede, satin, and sparkle, our chicken feathered starlets and our fish-eyed zombie boys. Nominated for Best Show in the Mountain Xpress Readers Choice Awards, the allure of ABSfest has attracted renowned circus and burlesque artists from across the USA, as well as Germany, Scotland and last year’s surprise jewel, Tokyo. We promise fashion, contortion, trapeze, and tease! ABSfest offers three days of inspiration, education, shopping, and entertainment that no lover of the performing arts can bear to miss.

In a world now brimming with Burlesque Festivals, from Vegas to Amsterdam, ABSfest is known for embodying the true spirit of Vaudeville, offering a fantastic opportunity for driven artists to network, and for a community that nurtures raw, boundary-pushing, creativity. The festival is one of several annual productions of Future of Tradition, a seminal force in the underground Asheville arts community since 1999. Executive Producer Lauren ‘Onca’ O’Leary also tours the nation teaching and performing dance, music and stagecraft with the Mezmer Society and the Accidental Circus.

In addition to juried artists from TX, DC, Chicago and more, our 2011 Festival Headliners:

For thirteen years a soloist with the notorious Neo-Burlesque Revival group ‘The Velvet Hammer’, Princess Farhana has also performed extensively across Europe, the States, and the Arab world, toured with Margaret Cho in ‘The Sensuous Woman’, performed in music videos for Ricky Martin, Madonna and others, been the subject of a documentary, “Underbelly” which featured footage of ABSfest 2007, and has an extensive line of instructional dance and burlesque dvds.
Princess Farhana headlined the FIRST EVER ABSfest here in Asheville. She’s since become an international dance star and an icon of the subcultural silver screen. Her Majesty is gracing Asheville once again with her epic force of personality and scintillating skills for ABSfest’s fabulous fifth anniversary.


Armitage Shanks travels the world sharing his incredible voice and rogue-ish stage presence. Productions of his work are running off-Broadway, and as founder of Seattle’s subcultural performance legend Circus Contraption, he is a forefather of the internationally rampant Neo-Vaudeville Revival.
“Armitage Shanks has a voice like honey-coated gravel. A Victorian Music Hall barker (with) just the right tone…a sinister and louche presence, who put some sex in the air.” Seattle’s The Stranger


For a second year, International Jester Competition winner (the only American to ever win) and the 2008 Fool of Muncaster Castle of England, the youngest juggler ever to win a Lifetime Achievement Award, and a former Karamazov Brother, world-famous juggler Paolo Garbanzo will dominate the Orange Peel stage with his masterful skills for another wild and wonderful ABSfest.

Drink deeply of these international masters, with both workshopsand dazzling, technical performances during the festival. They will be joined by talent from the world over in this juried extravaganza dedicated to Vaudeville, the People’s Entertainment!

DETAILS: 5th Annual Americana Burlesque & Sideshow Festival (ABSfest)

When: June 3-5, 2011

Friday Night Red Carpet Gala: The theater bus pulls up, the glittering artists disembark, tumbling along the Red Carpet in a swirl of laughter, and the party starts. This is just the beginning of a three-run of debauchery and high art… a teaser, if you will. The Opening Ceremonies are followed by awards,  performance, live music and more.

$15.00. 9pm. Bebe Theatre, Commerce Street, Asheville.

Saturday Night Spectacular: The newly expanded Orange Peel gives the festival more footage for festivity, as the hottest show of the year explodes within its walls. Phenomenal talent, a Burlesque Bazaar, and the sidewalk sideshow will be followed by live music and an afterparty. This is the show to never, ever miss in Asheville.

$25.00. 8-11 pm. The Orange Peel on Biltmore Avenue, Asheville. Afterparty at 11pm $5.

Saturday & Sunday Burlesque, Circus and Arts BusinessWorkshops in the ABSfest Seminary ~  $20 each or 5 for $90. 10-5pm. New Studio of Dance, Commerce Street, Asheville.  Train with Farhana, Paolo, and artists from around the country in stagecraft, circus arts, fire performance, burlesque and more.

The now annual Sunday Sideshow Brunch: An idyllic cure for the post-ABS Fest hangover; 1/2 price food, drinks and more entertainment with DC’s Cheeky Monkey Sideshow. 11-2pm. Arcade Asheville, 130 College Street, Asheville. $5.

This years event also has drawn talent agents and festival producers from throughout the Southeast and beyond, scoping talent and soaking up Asheville’s unique flavor! Interviews are available with several Asheville area artists, Paolo Garbanzo, and Madame Onca O’Leary.

All tickets & reservation or more information:

Saturday Night Spectacular Tickets Available at or through the box office.


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