Layman’s Guide to U.S. Burlesque Festivals

travelA revival is upon us!  We’ve compiled a remarkable list of over 20 burlesquey festivals in the states alone.  So hit the road & let us give thanks!

By: Femme Vivre LaRouge


Beginning at the top of the year, January 27-30, Lili’s Burlesque Revue presents the fourth annual Midwest Burlesk Festival in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  There may be snow, but these gals will surely keep you hot under the collar!
Then, from February 3-6, Key West Burlesque and Thirsty Girl Productions team up to bring you their second annual Holiday Extravaganza in the ‘southernmost city,’ Key West, Florida!  Key West Burlesque, the area’s “premier theater entertainment group” is produced by artist Marky Pierson and directed by Tatah Dujour.

But, if you can’t make it to sunny Florida in February, you have the option of joining us right here in Dallas, Texas, for the third Dallas Burlesque Festival!  And, since everything is bigger in Texas, we have three festivals for your viewing pleasure, so stay tuned and we’ll tell you all about the others, too!
Immediately following these is the Southwest Burlesque Showcase, February 11-12, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Headed up by Kitty Irreverent and Devin O’Leary, the showcase is already entering its fifth year on the festival circuit!


SFBFAfter a short break, the next convention on the calendar is the very first Southern Fried Burlesque Fest, March 10-13, offering “more fun than will fit in a bucket.”  Held in Atlanta Georgia, this event touts an extensive schedule of classes and workshops of all kinds.

Although the exact dates of the Moisture Festival are yet to be announced, sometime between mid-March and early April you will have the chance to travel to Seattle, Washington, for its seventh annual installment.  The Moisture Festival and its cohorts, Libertease Burlesque, offer a full-blown variety show, involving “aerialists, jugglers, comedians, dancers, rope acts, bubble acts, clowns, acrobats, can can girls, strong women, strong men, tap dancers, drill teams, musical numbers, the weird and the wonderful.”

Continue on over to Chicago, Illinois March 18-19, for the Windy City Burlesque Fest.  Produced by Belmont Burlesque and Vaudezilla, this event endeavors to “celebrate the present, honor the past, and showcase the future of burlesque performance.”

For a second foray to Florida, visit the Orange Blossom Burlesque Festival March 24-27, in Ft. Lauderdale.  “The show-girl and boy’s oasis,” this festival will give you the chance to not only enjoy fabulous performances, but kick back and relax, spa style, as well as participate in unique workshop opportunities.


April will be full of difficult decisions, as there are four wonderful burlesque experiences available to you that month.  The first is the Jim Thorpe Burlesque Festival in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.  Tentatively scheduled for April 1-3, this event is doing double duty to preserve history; last year’s festival raised almost five grand for the preservation and renovation of the local Mauch Chunk Opera House!
las vegasApril 21-24 is just one of the wonderful times to visit Las Vegas, Nevada, for Viva Las Vegas!  The ‘biggest rockabilly party’ in the U.S., Viva puts forward a burlesque show and competition, Jiving competition and classes, classic car show, tiki pool party, vintage fashion show, and a performance by none other than Mr. Jerry Lee Lewis!

The Great Boston Burlesque Exposition and Vintage Fashion Fair will also be taking place April 22-24, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  This event will be celebrating its fifth year and includes burlesque, fashion, circus, and sideshow.

Back in Texas, you can enjoy the Texas Burlesque Festival April 22-24 in Austin, for its fourth year.  This showcase and competition celebrates ‘all things burlesque, vaudeville, and cabaret,’ and was featured in a documentary about the American Burlesque Revival.


Produced by our very own Pin Curl Magazine, Hot Rods and Heels is the largest pin-up event in Texas.  Held in Dallas, the one-day festival happens early each May and includes a burlesque competition, pin-up fashion show, and classic car show!

The annual Show-Me Burlesque Festival of St. Louis, Missouri, will be taking place May 12-15.  Produced by Lola Van Ella, this event entertains and educates in a city with a marvelous burlesque history!


Drum roll please…the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend is the first weekend of every June, in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada.  This year’s convention will be June 2-5 and features the burlesque competition formerly known as Miss Exotic World, a spectacular bazaar, and performances, Q&A, and workshops by many of burlesque’s most treasured living legends.  “Founded and fostered by burlesque legends Jennie Lee and Dixie Evans, The Burlesque Hall of Fame™ is a 501(c)3 non-profit archive, dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the art, artifacts and traditions of classic American Burlesque.”
The weekend of June 3-5 is also the Americana Burlesque and Sideshow Festival in Asheville, North Carolina.  ABSfest is a Future of Tradition production and a wonderful walk on the wild side!
Colorado Burlesque Festival, LLC – “A literary and dramatic work of Colorado Burlesque’s finest, presented by Lola Spitfire, Fannie Spankings, Midnite Martini and Honey Touché,” enjoyed its first festival in 2010 and we are anxiously awaiting word about 2011!


Just when you thought it couldn’t get any hotter, the Superstars of Burlesque makes the summer sizzle even more in August.  Debuting in 2010 and produced by Studio L’amour, this ambitious festival brought together modern burlesque’s best of the best for two star-studded evenings in Chicago, Illinois!  Keep checking their site for info on 2011.

We all know that New Orleans does it like no other and the spectacular New Orleans Burlesque Festival in Louisiana will not disappoint!  Brought to you by Rick Delaup and Secrets in Lace, this event has just passed, and the dates for next year have yet to be set.
gold_pastiesThe eighth annual New York Burlesque Festival was held September 30-October 1, 2010, and produced by Stoli, Thirsty Girl, and Pontani Productions.  Featuring School of Burlesque Classes and The Golden Pastie Awards, this production will make you fall in love with New York all over again.  See their website for updates on 2011.


For something a little different, check out BurlyCon, October 20-23, in Seattle, Washington.  Rather than performances and competitions, this convention focuses on building the burlesque community, networking new and seasoned performers, producers, and aficionados, and workshops/feedback for performers who wish to fine-tune their talents.

Tease-O-Rama, the original American burlesque festival, began in 2001 in New Orleans, continued in San Francisco in 2002, Hollywood in 2003, and has continued take the show on the road!  As their website says, “The medium of burlesque viewed through a twenty-first century lens offers endless opportunities for performance – from classic glamour to wry satirical commentary to carnivalesque freak-show skills, and Tease-O-Rama has it all!”

Also not be overlooked is the infamous Coney Island, NYC, offering Burlesque at the Beach each Thursday and Friday night all summer long, The Mermaid Parade in mid-June, the Cockabilly Records Rockabilly Festival Labor Day Weekend, and much much more in the way of sideshow and variety!

Bon Voyage!

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