National Arts Festival to go ahead, but online

The festival will continue online
The festival will continue online
Image: alphaspirit/

Despite the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown in the country, the annual National Arts Festival (NAF) will go ahead as planned, but virtually.

The activities of the 46th National Arts Festival that takes place from June 25 to July 5 will be on the festival’s website. NAF will give audiences around the world a chance to experience streamed, live performances, pre-recorded concerts, virtual, immersive exhibitions, poetry and stage readings, interactive workshops and webinars.

National Arts Festival CEO Monica Newton said: “Everything has changed since we last wrote to you – there is coronavirus pandemic which has the world in lockdown. We had to make some difficult decisions. Cancelling was not an option – we really wanted to find a way to make the festival happen – for the artists, for our stakeholders, and for you, our audience.”

“So, in a giant leap of faith, we’re doing something we’ve never done before. With the help and support of our sponsors, artists and audience, the festival will be a virtual festival. We're taking the festival online with digital content that will inspire, entertain and distract you – as well as provoke thought and discussion around some of the issues we're all grappling with.”

Newton said the decision to take the festival online was a bold response to the restrictions posed by the coronavirus pandemic. She explained that some shows will be watched for free while other shows people will have to fork out some few rands.

Newton added: “It's a challenging time for business unusual and we know that if anyone is up to an agile, creative response, it's South Africa's artistic community. Some content will be behind a paywall, there'll also be free content as the festival is committed to reaching as many people as possible.”

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