The Cape Town Carnival, established in 2010, is a street parade that showcases and celebrates the diversity of Cape Town and South Africa. Although the parade is the highlight, the Carnival works with creative professionals and local communities throughout the year to develop the costumes, music and dances that make up the event.
In this report, the Future Festivals South Africa team explores how the carnival has changed and adapted due to the Covid-19 pandemic, tracking the Cape Town Carnival's evolution from 2020 to 2021.
The Cape Town Carnival had to cancel their annual street parade just days before it was due to be held in March 2020. The organising team refocused on their core purpose to "ignite joy and unity through creativity" which proved crucial to their success as it inspired their adaptations and helped them to persevere through the challenges of designing a new Covid-safe carnival format. In 2020, the Carnival shifted to an online format that allowed them to continue working with creatives and community groups, and then designed a scalable hybrid event for 2021.
The Cape Town Carnival has shown that flexibility is key in adapting to Covid-19. They have positioned themselves well for the future with stronger community bonds in place and a more diverse range of business models that includes scalable live and virtual elements.
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