This year’s Philadelphia Burlesque Festival might be tough to pull off, so to speak.
“I don’t have the funds,” said Liberty Rose, a performer and co-producer of the annual event, which is scheduled to begin next week.
In an attempt to keep the four-day festival in the black, Rose and fellow performer, Victoria Page, came up with a digital solution: a fundraising page on the Gofundme website.
The women are hoping to raise $9,000 to cover production costs.
The money will help pay such expenses as headliner fees, venue rental, video and photo crews and program materials, according to the website.
Rose, 31, of Fishtown, has paid festival expenses herself in the past, but this year the event is being held a month earlier and the popularity of the festival has made it more expensive to produce.
The popularity of burlesque extends from theater venues to shows at local bars, which she said has led to something of an “oversaturation” of performances locally. The quality of some shows has suffered as a result, she said.
“It’s exciting that the scene is growing, but, it’s difficult to navigate what’s going on in the scene,” she said. “There’s a lot of shows that feel like open mic nights.”
With the upcoming festival, Rose said she hopes to “inspire and elevate” local burlesque performers and their performances by bringing in talented performers from all over the world.
This year, Poison Ivory, who is billed as the “Reigning Queen of Burlesque,” is slated to perform, as are Chicago’s Red Rum, the duo Kitten and Lou from Seattle and Mr. Gorgeous, the man awarded “Most Comedic” at the Burlesque Hall of Fame in Las Vegas.
Also, there will be burlesque classes taught by the Philadelphia Burlesque Academy.
“The classes, for me, are a huge part of what makes this festival important,” said Kate Nyx, 26, of South Philly.
Nyx is a fellow performer and has been helping Rose with social media for the upcoming festival. With performers coming in from all over the world, Nyx said that there will be so many opportunities to learn.
“There’s a lot of people from Philly who haven’t seen someone from Denmark do burlesque,” she said. “The sheer amount of storytelling that can happen with this format… that’s what I’m looking forward to.”
The Third Annual Philadelphia Burlesque Festival is scheduled from April 6 through 9 at the Plays and Players Theatre, at 1714 Delancey St. For more information, tickets or to help donate to support the festival, visit the festival’s website at thephiladelphiaburlesquefestival.com.