Vrystaat Arts Festival off the cards for 2021

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2019 Vrystaat Arts Festival. PHOTO: Facebook

The Vrystaat Arts Festival’s customary artistic programme of performances and arts market, presented annually on the campus of the University of the Free State, will not be presented this year.

According to a press statement by the festival management the decision was influenced by the uncertainty regarding the projected course of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic,  as well as the nationwide riots of the recent weeks.

“Although the arts festival staff have been in the process of planning the festival for several months, it has become clear that postponing the artistic program and arts market is inevitable. To make the festival happen has been made impossible by the constraints placed on venue and outside capacities at the various restriction levels,” says management.

It says the decision was taken to ensure the survival of the Free State-based arts festival, as it is of critical importance to build up much-needed reserves. Management believes the survival of the festival will be ensured this way, and that the festival will in future be able to support artists to stage productions and projects.

Atie Kamper, organiser of the annual arts market, says they will focus their energy on the festival of 2022, and hope everyone will be fully vaccinated so that they can hold a festival with confidence again.

However, it is not all doom and gloom. The festival will still play host to a wide variety of digital offerings for the second year in a row. The festival’s digital component, the Snelstroom programme, which consists of “Hoofstroom” and “Vrystroom”, will be launched in October 2021. The literary programme “VrySpraak-digitaal” will carry on.

The festival is also working on various other projects, including the Creative Practices Laboratory, presented in collaboration with the Nasionale Afrikaanse Teater-inisiatief, the Vrystaat Klank en Klassiek mini classical music festival which will take place in November, a Free State Arts and Health virtual mini-summit, the Pan-African Creative Exchange’s Dramaturgical Laboratory, and an exciting new dance programme in 2022.

Corn Koteli

tshehla@mahareng.co.za