Natal Day Weekend celebrations moved online amidst COVID-19 pandemic
HALIFAX -- The long weekend in August usually see's many live shows in the Maritimes, however COVID-19 has been cause for numerous event cancellations across the region.
Despite the pandemic halting many spectacles, it hasn't stopped some organizers from pivoting to online performances.
The Halifax Waterfront typically sees hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to witness the Halifax Busker Festival – which features many multi-talented performers. However this summer, large crowds can't gather to watch the festival's entertaining roster of performances.
"We bring an average of 250,000 people over six days on the waterfront, so we knew we couldn't have it on the waterfront as we normally had," says Halifax Busker Festival event director, Christina Edwards. "But, we also couldn't be going for 34 years and not do something."
Instead of cancelling, producers of the Halifax Busker Festival have opted for a digital festival featuring performances on Facebook. Additionally, viewers will have the opportunity to give money to performers.
"All entertainers are having a hard time right now because no one can put on a show," says Edwards. "So, what's great about this is that you can tip each artist individually, and you can choose the currency."
In New Brunswick, a similar solution has been devised for the Area 506 festival, which usually takes place on the Saint John waterfront, after it was also cancelled due to COVID-19. Area 506 organizers have teamed up with the province to stream this year's New Brunswick Day celebration.
"In April, it became clear that large festivals and events within New Brunswick weren't going to happen, and we sort of resigned ourselves," says Area 506 chair, Ray Gracewood."But, I think as time went by, we got a little bit antsy to kind of do something."
Both events will provide spectators with a chance to see some amazing talent, and give performers an opportunity to hit the stage – during a time when the industry has been all but shut down.
"I think the reality is that our entire industry requires support and requires innovative thinking and a new way of approaching things," says Gracewood.