The National Arts virtual Festival is under way, but totally different from how it usually rolls. It is taking place online for the entire 11 days as the organisers moved to showcase the best art amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In the video below, COVID-19 forces the National Arts Festival to go virtual:

The organisers say the pandemic has taken away the face to face interaction and the buzz that comes with the festival in the small town of Makhanda, in the Eastern Cape. But, the digital space has allowed creatives to venture into uncharted waters.

The festival, which is on its 46th year, is a platform for artists to showcase their talent. It brings millions of rands to the revenue of this university town.

This time around, viewers can access the festival by buying tickets on the NAF website.

Festival CEO Monica Newton says the popular village green market is also catered for.

“There is the virtual green which presents the shop window of amazing craft. While it is not e-commerce yet, viewers will be able to contact the folks who have presented their work directly. We also have visual arts which offer the same thing. Our daily programme is packed. There’s jazz, poetry; there are workshops. There’s extraordinary work.”

In the video below, the National Arts Festival goes virtual. 

Eastern Cape Arts and Culture MEC Fezeka Bayeni says the provincial government has contributed close to R14 million to ensure that local artists and crafters are part of the festival. Bayeni says they hope that the skills acquired here will be used in future.

“Working together with the municipalities, our government agencies and the festival organisers and sponsors; we have no doubt that this year we will bring 11 days of amazing to the comfort of homes.”

The Standard Bank Young Artists of the Year is again part of the festival. The Group CMO at Standard Bank Thulani Sibeko says the National Arts Festival is the highlight for the winners of the award.

“This year is no exception. Blessing Ngobeni will host a virtual art exhibition and Sisonke Tlanti will headline in the STD Bank jazz festival. These are some of the outstanding artists we can look forward to.”

The festival ends on 5 July.

In the video below, the virtual National Arts Festival gets under way: 

Oyster festival also goes virtual

The popular Knysna Oyster Festival has also opted for a virtual version.

Saturday is day one of the event and all the sporting action, art, and cooking shows and music, are being broadcast live via social media.

More on this in the video below: