The live performing arts industry is among the hardest hit by the global pandemic. It’s been almost eight months since musicians and artists like comedians, dancers, and production staff have had a steady income due to COVID-19.
To support the entertainment industry, the Dr. P. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts will be hosting a socially distanced six-month festival called the Front Yard Festival beginning in December.
“[It’s} Community arts groups, it’ll also be some of the touring artists, some of the comedians that are ready to go back on tour,” Lorri Shaban, spokeswoman for the Dr. Phillips Center said. “There’s a pent-up demand for live entertainment. We haven’t had a show in here since March 11 when Josh Grobin was here for a sold-out show.”
According to Shaban, the Dr. Phillips Center has lost millions of dollars in revenue since their last show. The unique idea will help local artists, performers, and food vendors who are struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic.
“They’ve been without real steady income for eight months as well so that’s why we created this festival, was a way to bring back the community, to reignite the local cultural arts scene,” she said.
Amid a pandemic, they’re making sure to follow safety regulations by building metal pods.
“That is really the hallmark of this festival is being able to safely seat our guests,” she said.
There will be 380 metal pods spread out in the front yard of the Dr. Phillips Center. Each one can sit up to 5 people and every pod will be spaced out six feet apart from one another.
“It’s a really comfortable safe way that we’re gonna be able to bring live entertainment back to folks and we’re also doing that under the guidance of federal, state, and local health authorities, and Advent Health,” Shaban said.
The infrastructure of the festival like the stage, lighting, and sound systems will be made possible with a 250-thousand-dollar grant from the city of Orlando. The plan is to transform the arts center’s three front parcels, into an outdoor entertainment venue that will showcase a diverse mix of music, comedy, films, and more.
“We hope to have a health and wellness component in the mornings so that people can come out and do yoga, and meditation, and maybe even some Zumba classes,” Shaban stated. “We’ll have professional musicians from our local community come out and entertain during lunch time and then at night, we’ll have bigger shows. It is a lift for the entire community, and it allows us to do something in a really healthy and safe way.”
Dr. Phillips Center said they’re in the early stages of programming and are still looking for musicians and performers. The price of each ticket will depend on the daily program.
The Front Yard festival is expected to launch sometime in December. Face coverings will be required to be worn throughout the venue.