The show must go on – but with a difference next year. That’s the message from organiser’s of the Bermuda Festival, which has undergone a major revamp, in part due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The event, which normally takes place from January to March, will kick off in May next year, with performances being held each weekend throughout the month.
Another round of performances will be held in October. Artists will also perform under a giant marquee at a single, open air venue rather than in theatres and concert halls.
Cindy Campbell, the festival’s executive director, said the changes were introduced in part because of the coronavirus crisis. But she added that they also dovetailed with wishes of festival goers, who asked for the event be held later in the year when outdoor concerts could be held.
Ms Campbell said: “We sent out a survey in March and received 700 responses. What came back really clearly is that people wanted the festival to move forward to later in the year. So we’re going to postpone the opening shows until May, when the weather will be warmer and hopefully Covid-19 will be under more control.”
The survey also revealed high demand for outdoor performances – which would also allow audiences to gather at a venue and maintain social distancing rules.
Festival organisers have bought a marquee measuring 60ft by 90ft that will be erected at the former Riddell’s Bay golf club in Warwick.
Ms Campbell said: “The theme of the festival is ’Reimagined’, because 100 per cent of it has been rearranged. There’s nothing about this festival that’s the same as previous festivals, apart from the quality of the acts. We have three objectives for the festival – for it to be empowering, uplifting and just plain fun. There’s been too much tragedy in 2020. We don’t need any more.”
Ms Campbell added that the line-up for next year had yet to be finalised, but that a theme was developing.
She said: “There’s still going to be the mix of classical and jazz and drama and we also want to continue the conversation that began in 2020 with the Black Lives Matter movement.”
Ms Campbell added that there would be an emphasis on getting Bermudian artists on stage, either in their own right or as support to overseas acts.