The Festival of Chichester is set to go online this summer with a Virtual Festival to replace live events because of the restrictions imposed by the virus pandemic. The idea came about through some regular performers contacting us to enquire about the possibility of going online and offering their support. The festival committee was keen to plug the gap in Chichester’s cultural life created by the cancellation of the festival and so many other special occasions which are normally part of the rich variety of entertainment that the city has to offer.
And so the Virtual Festival was born – to replace what would have been the eighth festival. Many of the performers scheduled to take part had pre-existing videos they could offer while others have created specials just for us. One performer, Dawn Gracie, who has been with us since the beginning, is presenting two live-streamed cabaret events. Others are coming to us from Chichester Cathedral, from our twin city, Chartres, from Kings Place in London and elsewhere.
A number of the star performers due to be in the festival have also chipped in. We’re delighted to have magnificent piano pieces from Russian maestro Victor Ryabchikov and Reiko Fujisawa, while Ensemble Reza is presenting a wonderful performance of the Brahms Sextet. The contributions come from across the genres we usually present – blues, jazz and folk music, classical concerts, poetry readings, sculpture, art views and even a field recording of wildlife.
We like to think our special festival is grounded in the community but also presents the lustre of visiting stars and this is just as true of our virtual festival as it has been of the previous seven live festivals. We hope you enjoy these performances and will be clicking on our website every day to see what is new, as well as looking back over events already available online. And we plan to be back next year with an outstanding festival to mark the return of live performance to the city.
Image: Sussex Syncopators