The Crucible’s 9th Annual Fire Arts Festival
Wednesday – Saturday, July 15-18, 2009
8:00PM – 11:59PM


2009 Festival Recap Gallery | 2009 Soirée Recap Gallery

Jump To:

About The Festival
The Rootabaga Opera
Patron Pavilion
Fire & Light Soirée

Line-Up & Artists

Discounts & Quick Entry
Places to Stay

New Location / Directions
Photo/Video Policy
Fire Arts Arena Rules

2008 videos/images
2009 videos/images
2009 Soirée photo gallery

Click here for tickets

About The Fire Arts Festival

Each July The Crucible’s Fire Arts Festival celebrates creativity through fire and light with a spectacular open-air exhibition of interactive fire art, performance and the largest collection of outdoor fire sculpture on the West Coast. The Fire Arts Festival is our major fundraising event, and proceeds benefit The Crucible’s arts education programs for youth and adults. You’ll be dwarfed by gigantic sculptures, get hands-on with interactive installations, and experience an eye-popping array of cutting edge fire sculpture and art from the all over the country. Each evening, fire performers will awe and amaze the most discerning pyrophile and you’ll be dazzled by incredible music and dance performances. It’s the must-see event of the summer.

More Bang for the Buck – Literally!

This year we will be expanding the festival in a new, larger location. Our new Oakland location is three times larger than years past, giving attendees more elbow room and us the ability to bring you more of your favorite artists. We will have more fire and light sculptures, food and merchandise vendors. In addition to our regular performances, we will feature the world premiere of Dan Cantrell’s The Rootabaga Opera


a>. Oh, and did we mention that entrance into the Fire Arts Festival will be cheaper this year too! This year ticket service fees will be included in the price of the ticket, making the total cost of entrance into the festival more affordable than last year.


Fire Vortex

Dan Cantrell’s The Rootabaga Opera

Rootabaga OperaThe 2009 Fire Arts Festival will feature the world premiere of Dan Cantrell’s The Rootabaga Opera, a narrative musical presentation inspired by the children’s stories of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and treasured American folk music historian Carl Sandburg. This one-act musical journey weaves individual stories into a narrative arc staged in a theatrical format. The material will be informed by the diasporic culture of American immigrants during the dramatic turning of the 19th century as seen through Sandburg’s stories.

Through a unique blend of early American, Chinese, and Eastern European music, this opera will explore the roots of the Bay Area’s musical and cultural identity. Compositions will be complimented by an interdisciplinary collaboration of fire arts, puppetry, dance and theatre. The piece will reflect the ideas, characters and text found in Sandburg’s Rootabaga Stories and his collections of American folk music while venturing into new areas of collaboration and musical exploration based on the interaction of the diverse range of performers.

The musical ensemble, directed and conducted by Emmy award-winning composer Dan Cantrell, will feature some of the Bay Area’s finest talent in a dynamic and ethnically diverse folk orchestra. Featured artists will include women’s vocal ensemble Kitka, renowned for their specialized vocal technique, described as exotic, elegant and eerie. Co-directors, Larry Reed and Christine Marie of ShadowLight Productions will add another layer to the production with giant projected shadows featuring metal shadow puppets created by Mark Bulwinkle.

The commissioning and production of this world premiere is made possible by The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Emerging Composers 2007 Initiative.

Not familiar with Carl Sandburg’s Rootabaga Stories? Check out this site…


Patron Pavilion

Get the VIP treatment during the Festival in our Patron Pavilion, a VIP Lounge. Add $50 to any general admission ticket to upgrade to a Patron Pavilion Pass. You’ll enjoy comfortable seating beneath a tent or in our Pavilion courtyard, private restrooms, hosted bar, and premium stage views throughout the night.

Patron Pavilion photos by Mike Woolson


Our July 2009 Fire and Light Soiree was a fabulous success! 250 guests enjoyed a delicious dinner beneath a stunning tent canopy, and generous bidding during our art auction raised funds for The Crucible’s arts education programs. Thanks to everyone who participated in this special evening.

Click here to see the Soiree Photo Gallery.

Click here to learn more about our Auction & Lottery items.


Soirée catering sponsor:
Grace Street Catering


Stage Performances ———————————————————————————————————————
Wednesday Night
Titanium Sporkestra
Frank Olivier – emcee

The Rootabaga Opera by Dan Cantrell
Fire Arts Collective
Aziz Abbatiello
Vulcan Crew
Poor Man’s Whiskey
and more…
Thursday Night
Loco Bloco
Frank Olivier – emcee

The Rootabaga Opera by Dan Cantrell
El Circo
Flamenco Fury
and more…
Friday Night
Bronkar Lee – emcee

The Rootabaga Opera by Dan Cantrell
Copper Lantern Fire Theater
Axis Dance Company
and more…
Saturday Night
Loyd Family Players
Bronkar Lee – emcee

The Rootabaga Opera by Dan Cantrell
The Embodiment Project
Nocturnal Sunshine
Simon Chaban
Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls
and more…

Installation Artists ———————————————————————————————————————
Rebecca Anders – Fishbug
Dave Andres
Michael Christian – Elevation
Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito
Department of Spontaneous Combustion
Matisse Enzer – Flamethrower Shooting Gallery
False Profit Labs
Orion Fredericks
Charlie Gadeken
Ryon Gesink
Wally Glenn
Justin Gray
Kristin Hoard
Interpretive Arson
Jeremy Krentz
Lil’ Ju Ju
Catie Magee & Elizabeth Scott
Mark Perez – The Life-Size Mousetrap
Christian Ristow – The Hand of Man
Alan Rorie – Neuron Chamber
Alexander Rose and Camron Assadi
Jon Sarriugarte
Jack Schroll – El Diablo
Patrick Scott
Nate Smith – Fire Vortex
Kal Spelletich
Earl Stirling
Mardi Storm
Michael Sturtz
Evan Tracy
Team Gnome
Maria Zhalnina

Discounts & Benefits – There’s No Better Time To Become A Member

Join or Renew now and enjoy great Fire Arts Festival benefits for Members ONLY. Crucible Members at all levels receive discounts on Festival tickets as well as expedited entry into the Festival – the Members-Only/VIP entrance means bypassing long lines. Members at the Inferno Level and above are entitled to complimentary access to our Patron Pavilion, which means more VIP treatment during the Festival including private restrooms, hosted bar, and comfortable seating beneath a tent or in our Pavilion courtyard.

click here to join or renew membership


In Oakland right off the West Grand Avenue exit, between the Oakland Army Base and the East Bay MUD Facility, at the corner of Wake Avenue and Engineer Road. Parking will be available as well and FREE shuttle service from West Oakland BART.

Click Here for Directions & Parking Info…

Spend the Night & Explore Oakland

If you’re coming into Oakland for the Fire Arts Festival and want to spend the night, our partners at the Marriott are extending some red-hot rates exclusively for Fire Arts Festival guests – just $99/night at the Marriott City Center or $89 at the Downtown Courtyard.

Take advantage of these rates by booking online: (discount code: faffafa)

Marriott Oakland City Center – Book Now!

Courtyard Marriott – Book Now!



Photography/Video Policy:

Still photography is allowed, however if you bring a SLR camera with a detachable lens you will need to sign a photo release form at the media check-in table at the main entrance, where you will receive a photography badge and guidelines. If you post any images taken at the festival we ask that you please credit “The Crucible’s Fire Arts Festival®” and the artist, performer, or group featured in the image.

No video is allowed unless previous arrangements are made before the day of the festival. If a videographer has made prior arrangements to shoot for a particular artist or performer, they may only shoot that particular artist or performer, after which they will need to put away their gear.

Any photographer or videographer not in compliance with our policy or guidelines will be asked to leave the Fire Arts Arena.


Thank you to our fabulous sponsors!

City of Oakland Mutual Aid Response Services Bay Cities Pyrotector
Lagunitas Refraction Lighting & Sound CBS Outdoor
CBS Outdoor
Clear Channel Outdoor
Clear Channel Outdoor
Alliance Gas Cresco Rentals Bart zellerbach family foundation
Stages Unlimited East Bay Express Guardian
Four Vines Winery