Get Ready for the Virtual National Arts Festival 2020 

The Virtual National Arts Festival will take place from 25 June to 5 July this year – that’s eleven days dedicated to celebrating and showcasing art from across South Africa and the world. 

Due to the current global health pandemic, the Virtual National Arts Festival will be taking place online and will feature a selection of pre-recorded and live events, short films, virtual art exhibitions, jam sessions, interactive events, webinars and more. 

National Arts Festival CEO Monica Newton said the decision to host a virtual festival was made with artists in mind: ‘We considered postponing but the timeline looked very uncertain. We have to work with Makhanda’s academic calendar and the only other time of the year to consider would have been December, which is impossibly hot in Makhanda.’

How will the festival work?

The National Arts Festival website will be the portal to the entire event. Each day a curated programme will be shared with those who have purchased a pass to the festival. The programme will include access to time-specific, live events as well as other events on the platform that can be viewed at any time. 

The curated programme will span across art mediums 

The curated programme for each of the eleven days will include theatre performances, comedy, visual arts, workshops, talks and experiences as well as elements of the Standard Bank Creativate Digital Arts Festival programme (where art and technology meet). 

There will also be a less scheduled, open-access platform which will serve as a stage for artists to showcase their work and generate revenue from ticket sales (90% of earnings from the open-access platform will accrue to the artist directly). 

Pre-recorded and live-streamed content 

Artists will be able to submit pre-recorded visual or audio content which will be available for ticket holders to view and engage with on the NAF website and possibly a TV channel. The organisers have assured artists that all content will be protected and will not be able to be downloaded from the site. 

The audience will be able to access streamed webinars, concerts, and other live work via links to YouTube, Facebook, Zoom etc. which the NAF will provide. 

Viewers can also look forward to free access to trader lists, visual art galleries, workshops, and other events.

How can you purchase a ticket?

You’ll be able to purchase a festival pass for either single or multiple days which will give you access to the curated content. Some content will be sold as a single item (think ‘video on demand’) and E-wallets will be available for easy and efficient purchases. 

The organisers are committed to creating a new version (vNAF) for the digital space and have been transparent about the amount of research done to ensure an enjoyable experience for audiences while ensuring that artists, creators and crafters are protected, get to showcase their work and generate an income. 

The NAF are continuing to explore and finalise all matters to ensure that audiences and artists can participate in this iconic festival. The first-ever Virtual National Arts Festival is a momentous occasion and if the platform is a success, we believe it can and will transform the art space. 

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