National Arts Festival goes virtual

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions, the National Arts Festival (NAF) has announced that this year’s event will be fully online.

According to Festival CEO Monica Newton, there had been plans for some live audience performances this year but President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement last month forced them to rethink their approach.

“Our 2021 festival was built with change in mind, we knew we might need a Plan B and this was a part of our risk mitigation strategy from the start,” Newton said.

“The festival team is working at 200% to adapt our live programme to this new scenario in order to stick to our original July 8 opening date.

“We are confident that we can pull it off and the National Arts Festival Online will take place from July 8 to 31.”

Luckily, Newton said, the necessary infrastructure was already in place from last year’s festival.

She also praised the many artists in the festival for their continued hard work.

“Together with our team, they are working incredibly hard to ensure work is filmed with all the professionalism and passion they had planned to put into their live stage performances.

“Everyone has just taken a deep breath, adapted their plans and moved forward. After a devastating year for the arts, it felt very important to us to honour our commitments and financial obligations to all the people involved in the 2021 festival.”

The new online festival will be hosted on the NAF website, and a new edition this year will be the introduction of live- streaming for certain performances.

The Standard Bank Jazz Festival will also be going fully online this year, with shows being filmed around the country.

Members of the public can purchase tickets on the NAF website, with individual show prices for the curated programme ranging from R40 to R100 per person.

However, it is also possible to buy a Festival Pass for R1,000 per person which provides access to all shows on the curated programme and the Jazz Festival.

Those interested in just the Jazz Festival can purchase a Jazz Pass for R800.

Prices for the Fringe Festival range from R40 to R80 per ticket, and 90% of all sales go directly to the artists.

This year, audiences can look forward to 96 curated works, workshops and exhibitions with 127 Fringe events.

For more information and to get a copy of the festival’s programme, visit: www.nationalartsfestival.co.za.

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