[Festivals Stories] Compilation: The power of resilience

24 Jan 2022

This is a compilation of festivals that had in presence performances in 2020 and 2021 in spite of the pandemic.

Some festivals rejected the idea of moving all their performances online. They simply could not accept that human contact was missing.

These festivals are proud of having achieved this huge milestone, as one of them says: “The virus did not defeat our resilience”. Some changed their scope to a local audience; some found the most authentic places to celebrate it, but always respecting the conditions required by the health authorities.

Festival dos canais festival story badge invention logo

Festival dos Canais / Teatro Aveirense
Aveiro, Portugal
15/07/2021-18/07/2021 and 23/07/2021- 25/07/2021

Festival dos Canais is formed by the articulation of the urban space with contemporary artistic creation. It is an artistic experience through the Ria de Aveiro canals. It took an enormous effort by the team to adapt the festival to the conditions required by the health authorities while maintaining the core intention not to disfigure the concept of the Festival. It was our success that we managed to carry out the festival without losing its character, creating an individual bond and a flow of audience in the city environment. The Portuguese artists were highlighted, promoting cultural experiences, accessibility and their necessity to the community and the defence of our heritage spaces. The virus did not defeat our resilience, we put our adaptability skills into action, along withour strong will to hold and produce the festival.

More information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQ18MI-S78k

Brussels Planetarium festival story badge invention

Brussels Planetarium Poetry Fest
Brussels, Belgium

We are very proud of having been able to continue with a live edition of the festival in 2020 and to have changed our scope to local artists for this special edition. For 2021 we have added a new dimension to the festival and we are making all performances in the planetarium dome available for VR-glasses, so people from around the globe can book tickets now to see the show as if they are there.

With all festival partners, we are working together, to create an optimal dome via VR-glasses experience. We selected our invited artists for the 2021 edition withthe requirement that they have experience in spatial poetry performance installations and/or VR poetic experiences to optimise the audience participatory and immersive experience.

We also added a short, rather classical, local performance tour at libraries and community cultural centres and day-care centres for the elderly to let people get a taste of what these immersive poetry performances look like, in that sense broadening our audiences in many ways ata local as well as international level.

More information: https://www.poetryfest.brussels/2020-edition/

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Rhonefestival für Liedkunst
Brig / Valais, Switzerland


In 2020, we had to cancel the main festival in April. However, as soon as the main lockdown was over, we organised seven open-air concerts in the garden of the castle of the city of Brig. It was a huge success and everybody enjoyed the carefree musical gathering under the heat of the sun from classical song recital to a singer/songwriter sunset concert. In addition, in 2021 we had to cancel again our main festival but as soon as the restrictions were eased we launched a second edition of the Lieder Garden in July 2021.

In addition, we organised a new concert series during the restrictions in autumn 2020;for the month of November, we organised daily short concerts in front of eight people (as the limit for gatherings was 10 people), which we repeated twice in order to have a daily audience of 24 people. With this concert format, we achieved the unification of almost all local professional musicians and attracted an audience which would never come to an ordinary concert of 70 minutes or more. The success was huge, and we expanded the concept into two other cities. Unfortunately, it was only a brief success, as on the 13.12.20, all cultural events were forbidden again.

More information: www.rhonefestival.ch/liedergarden / www.rhonefestival.ch/hereandnow

Valley of arts festival story badge invention logo

Valley of Arts festival
Kapolcs, Hungary

23/07/2021 - 01/08/2021

The Valley of the Arts festival - one of the largest art festivals in Hungary - could not take place on its original date due to the COVID situation, so it was organised in a special way: for four weekends, the Valley Weekends series took place in Kapolcs, which was a gap-filling event for the Hungarian audience.

During the weekends, they created an outdoor, safe environment for the audience, the performers and festival workers as well. In addition to the fantastic experience, it provided secure financial resource during this difficult time - as for many, this was the only opportunity to work at a festival in 2020.

One of the most memorable moments of the weekends was that a spontaneous clip was born during a performance, full of emotion and showing how important this moment was for both the performers and the audience.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/130817860265258/videos/891395631387281

I Fest International Film festival story badge invention logo

i-Fest International Film Festival
Castrovillari, Italy


It was a terrible year for everyone in which the culture, cinema and entertainment fields in particular suffered incalculable damage. All the staff of i-Fest International Film Festival went ahead with love, passion and courage, firmly believing that they could create a unique and special event. Some activities were enriched online and achieved great success. The Festival was still able to take place live on the dates scheduled after the lockdown in September in a fairly quiet period. All safety measures were taken, from distancing to sanitising the locations and booking entrances and it was a huge success with the public and the press.

More information: http://www.i-fest.it/

Sombor festival story badge invention logo

Festival Theatre Marathon/Sombor National Theatre
Sombor, Serbia


In June 2021, Sombor National Theatre held Festival Theatre Marathon because in 2020 the Theatre did not organise a Festival. We had two festivals in one edition. We are proud because for festival 5 days we had 15 performances. In the Festival 11 different theatres from Serbia and Croatia participated, and more than 5000 people visited our theatre and our town. In addition to the performances, an accompanying programme was organised with concerts for kids and grow-ups, and one book promotion. We are happy because we received great interest from the audience, despite Covid 19. Next year, we have a jubilee, 30th Festival Theatre Marathon, so we are happy because we have managed to maintain the tradition.

Music theatre international festival story badge invention logo

Music Theatre International
Roma, Italy


We are proud of the strong cohesion of the festival network and the capacity for resilience. We made video projects with young artists. We differentiated the offer and collaborations, to offer more informal and participatory outdoor activities or digital projects, or hybrid projects.

More information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBIhcEnjybs&ab_channel=MTHIItalia