The 46th Bermuda Festival will be held in 2021. The approach will be different but our mission reamians the same ENTERTAIN. EDUCATE. INSPIRE
What will be Different?
As part of the development process for each Festival, we give a lot of thought about the type of experiences we want to provide for our audiences. Traditionally the Festival has always been held in the first three months of the year. As we look at Bermuda today the landscape looks very different than it did 20 years ago, 10 years ago or even just last year. Even prior to Covid, we recognized our audiences and demographics are changing, and we must change too.
Starting in 2021 the Festival will now be a year round event and we anticipate there will be clusters of shows held throughout the year. Due to Covid, the 2021 season will start later than usual with only Spring, Summer and Fall events.
The Covid Challenge
As with most aspects of life these days, Covid 19 will have a significant impact on the Bermuda Festival – which by its very nature depends upon gatherings of people. Contemplating how to address the covid pandemic and our audiences desires has been challenging. To make an informed decision, the Festival conducted a detailed survey of the past three years’ ticket holders and an in-person interviews of a sampling of our corporate and individual patrons.
The results of our survey and interviews indicated a strong preference that the Festival produce a reimagined Festival that incorporated delaying the start of the Festival, holding the Festival outdoors or under a tent and holding a Festival that follows all of the Government’s Covid health guidelines. There was limited support for an online offering. We further combined the results of this survey with the post 2020 survey and noted strong support for holding Festival events that were spread out over the calendar year.
We were happy to recieve positive support from our patrons with most verbally indicating how important they felt the Bermuda Festival will be for the well being of the Island after all the stress experienced in 2020.
The Bermuda Festival Reimagined
Over the past several years we have had many conversations with our Sponsors, Patrons and Audiences about the best venues for our shows. One of the suggestions that has been repeated over and over has been outdoor spaces. Bermuda is filled with them, why not have some shows outside? It has been a slow process but we are listening. In the past, the time frame of the festival (Jan-Mar) has made it difficult to schedule shows outside due to unpredictable weather. But now, with shows spread out throughout the year we can be a lot more flexible.
The Festival has adapted its format and designed a 2021 Festival considering all the key findings of our research. The redesign results in significantly less capacity for ticket sales while simultaneously increasing the cost of production. To address the financial stress, the Festival has taken significant steps for 2021 to reduce operational costs, to strategically select smaller overseas acts in order to reduce expenses and to consciously increase our use of Bermudian performers as mainstage acts and in supporting roles in order to support our local artists and reduce travel, room and board expenses.