Festivals have been one of the sectors most affected by Covid-19 globally. A recent national mapping study of the South African creative economy showed that the “Performance and Celebration” domain, which includes all live music, performance arts, and festivals, grew at a faster annual rate (3.4%) than the rest of the economy (1.1%) between 2016 and 2018 (SACO Mapping Study, 2020).
Part of the work of the Future Festivals South Africa project is to track the impact of the lockdown and social distancing measured put in place, as well as the adaptation strategies used by festivals that did continue.
Of the 74 cultural festivals we have mapped so far, the largest groups were mixed arts and culture festivals (42) and Music festivals (42%), with smaller numbers of Film (7%), Literary (8%) and Comedy (1%) festivals. Of the cultural festivals that occurred in 2019, only 43 took place in 2020. 13 of these took place before lockdown. After lockdown, strategies included postponement (4 events), having smaller "pop-up" mini events (4 festivals), moving online to have a "virtual" digital festival (21 events), or a hybrid (online and "live") event (1 festival).
These maps are an initial opportunity to reflect on the impact of Covid-19 on arts festivals across South Africa. If you have any comments or feedback on the content of the maps, please get in touch using the form below. As the project is only just starting we want to make sure we include the views of producers and festival organisers and that no festival is excluded from our mapping.