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The Spanish company Toompak was among the entertainers at the annual festival. The Spanish company Toompak was among the entertainers at the annual festival.

Guanajuato’s virtual Cervantino festival dubbed a success

The format will be continued in future for its ability to connect with a bigger audience worldwide

With a virtual audience of at least two million, organizers are declaring this year’s International Cervantino Festival in Guanajuato city a success despite Covid-19 restrictions forcing them to hold much of the festival virtually.

In fact, the new hybrid format — a mix of live, in-person activities and performances broadcast on television, radio, and online — was such a success that festival director Mariana Aymerich said it will be repeated in 2021 and beyond, whether or not there are pandemic restrictions next year.

“We hope to experience a festival like the one we know, and we are working toward that, but we will continue next year with the virtual format because it permits us to connect with a greater number of people all over the world,” she said during a press conference Sunday that was also broadcast virtually.

“What is a fact is that the virtual format is here to stay and will be a more frequent part of the International Cervantino Festival each year,” she added.

The fine arts festival, in its 48th year, took place Wednesday through Sunday and involved 822 artists and performers, nearly half of them from at least 13 countries other than Mexico. Organizers say they saw 300,000 visits to the festival’s internet homepage, which provided links to the virtual events.

Aymerich said the festival put on 41 live showings and 23 taped events that were later broadcast on 66 radio stations, 58 public television stations, and 87 public and private online outlets. The festival itself broadcast 10 live transmissions on online platforms and hosted in-person art exhibits and academic workshops.

Events shown on the festival’s YouTube channel had attracted 42,500 views worldwide by Sunday, Aymerich reported.

The event is usually a huge boon for Guanajuato’s tourism industry. This year, Aymerich acknowledged that the new format meant a lot less clientele for the city’s tourism-based businesses.

“The numbers will not be exactly as many as in previous years because digital consumption [of events] has different metrics, and the festival was transmitted on various [media] platforms,” she said.

Nevertheless, Guanajuato Mayor Alejandro Navarro said hotels were full on the weekend, although he acknowledged that due to state’s current yellow status on the national coronavirus stoplight system, the city’s hotels are currently allowed to function only at 30% capacity.

But at Sunday’s press conference, he announced publicly that the city will continue to support the festival financially in years to come.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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