Organisers say the cancellation of the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic is set to have a devastating impact on the economy of Oudtshoorn.
Freelancers who depend on the staging of major events say their future is uncertain following the cancellation of events due to the coronavirus.
Major events like the Cape Town International Jazz Festival have been postponed, while the Cape Epic and the Two Oceans Marathon have been cancelled.
Freelance cameraman Jacques Groenewald says international events such as the US Masters Golf Tournament have also cancelled.
Groenewald says, “Freelance is already demanding financially, so you look at the big productions you get, and in the months that you don’t get the big productions, the big stuff will carry you through the thin months. But now the big stuff’s gone and there are no big productions in the thin months. I’m not exaggerating I’ve literally lost all work, the SABC booked me for Two Oceans, I got a call saying it’s off. I had a disabled event in Paarl for the SABC, its off and I’m the sole breadwinner.”
National Arts Festival
Organisers of the annual National Arts Festival in Makhanda in the Eastern Cape says it is engaging with the event’s sponsors to go virtual this year.
The festival that was scheduled to start on June 25 is expected to be affected by the ban on public gatherings due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Festival CEO, Monica Newtown says it is a pro-active and radical response to the current situation which puts artists in a dire situation as livelihoods are at stake.
She says they aim to create a new opportunity for artists and audiences alike to celebrate the arts, and to create an accessible platform for artists to share their work.
Newton says the planning of the virtual festival is still a work in progress.
She says, “Sending a message of solidarity to the world to say the arts is still here and like the arts have always done, will support you through these difficult times.”
Klein Karoo National Arts Festival cancelled
Meanwhile, the cancellation of the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic is set to have a devastating impact on the economy of Oudtshoorn.
The KKNK is traditionally held over the Easter break. This year would have been the 26th edition.
General Manager of Kunste Onbeperk, Lizané Basson says it was a very difficult decision, but it had to be made for the safety of locals and visitors.
Basson says, “It was a really hard decision for Kunste Onbeperk’s board members as well as leadership to decide to decide to cancel the 26th KKNK that would have taken place by the end of March. We were literally counting the sleeps until we open the festival. But to be a good citizen and to take everyone into account, local people from Oudtshoorn as well as nationally we had to take this decision.”
The Cango Caves have also closed their tour operations for the next couple of weeks.