Dunedin Arts Festival postponed

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The Dunedin Arts Festival will be postponed until 2021 in response to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The decision to move the two-yearly festival, which had been scheduled for October 9 to 18, to its “off year” was made at a special meeting of the board this week.

Festival director Charlie Unwin said the festival’s “thoughts and aroha are with the artists, contractors and audiences from Otepoti Dunedin and indeed across Aotearoa and the world, whose lives and livelihoods have been impacted by the current situation”.

The Covid-19 situation and its potential longer term impacts were behind the decision to postpone the Dunedin Arts Festival to a still-to-be-determined date in 2021.

“Being a biennial festival, we are fortunate that we have the ability to move the festival to our off-year,” he said.

Otago Festival of the Arts Trust chairman  Trevor Kempton said the 2020 festival was to have been Mr Unwin’s first as festival director.

“A range of exciting new initiatives have been planned, but it’s the right call given the current circumstances and we are working closely with our very supportive core funders and other stakeholders to ensure the festival will still go ahead in 2021,” Mr Kempton said.

Mr Unwin said the arts were already playing an important role in the current lockdown “and we know that they will be even more important once we try to return to some sort of normality in the future”.

“The festival will be at the forefront of that in the region.”

Inquiries can be directed to Mr Unwin by email at director@artsfestivaldunedin.co.nz