Fairbanks is a wonderful place to find musical entertainment! Fairbanks is home to very skilled musicians that you can certainly find performing at community events around town all year long! Throughout the winter months, the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra– as well as its affiliated Fairbanks Youth Orchestras– takes the stage at the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Davis Concert Hall. You can catch the Fairbanks Community Band playing throughout the year! Many local home-grown bands such as the beloved 70’s funkadelic band “Shagg” and the blues-y “Head Bolt Heaters” perform on many different local stages from local dive bars to community events and festivals.
The Fairbanks music scene is as eclectic as the people of Fairbanks itself– including calypso-style steel drum bands, klezmer bands, folk, bluegrass, Native Fiddle music, classical, and the list goes on and on. By keeping an eye on the local paper and different online local events calendars, you will be sure to find something you truly enjoy!
Fairbanks also takes pride in its local talent for theater! Longtime theater groups such as Fairbanks Drama Association and Fairbanks Light Opera Theater– both celebrating over 50 seasons– have provided great entertainment for audiences of locals and visitors alike! The newest theater group, Interior Independent Theater, offers exciting shows of various sizes– and often embracing more daring themes. The next generation of actors and actresses are being cultivated through local programs such as FACT (Fairbanks Academy of Children’s Theater)– and they are excited to share their new skills with everyone! See if there is a show tonight!
There are quite a few dancers here in Fairbanks. The winter months can be long and dark– and it is very important for many of us locals to stay as active as we can! For those of us that prefer to enjoy watching dance recitals from a seat in the audience, there are many different opportunities throughout the year to see these amazing dance performers. Regular shows that occur every year include but are certainly not limited to North Star Ballet’s renowned production of “The Nutcracker” and many mid-year showcases from various local dance studios and performing troupes. For shows during your visit, check out the events page on the website for our visitors bureau, Explore Fairbanks.
The best resources to keep updated on the many different aspects of performance art that can be enjoyed here in Fairbanks would include the many online events calendars such as the one found at Explore Fairbanks. Our local newspaper, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner contains a tabloid in its Thursday edition titled “Latitude 65” which contains a calendar of events for the coming week.
Cabaret, Burlesque, and Drag Shows!
In a modern renaissance, Fairbanks has become home to a darker side of performance art. Venues such as The Marlin and The Attic Bar (at Round-Up Steakhouse) are home to many different types of performances of a risque nature. These performances take a playful and often humorous look at rather adult themes– while leaving the majority of naughtiness to the imagination. Remember that it is best to find other fun options for the kids during these shows!
Folk Music and Dancing!
While folk music and dancing are celebrated year-round in Fairbanks, the annual Winter Folk Festival (held in February) is a great opportunity to soak it all in! Fairbanks is proud of its homespun, folksy roots– and just as proud to celebrate it each year with locals and visitors at this event! Enjoy continuous performances by string bands, barbershop style singing groups, and contradance groups– many of which allow you to join in!
Native Music and Dancing!
There are several chances to see some great native music and dance performances throughout the year. The Tanana Chief Conference Cultural Programs (operated out of the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center) holds three or four Native Fiddle Dances through the winter. These dances are held over four evenings and are filled with fun, education, food, and laughter! Native dance performances are also held during major Native Festivals such as The Festival of Native Arts (March), Alaska Federation of Natives (held in October every three years or so in Fairbanks), and the Athabascan Fiddlers’ Festival (November). These events are completely open to the public. Be prepared to make a new friend or two, and of course be prepared to join in the dancing!