Fertile Ground Festival Will Move Entirely Online in 2021 Due to the Coronavirus

A panel will curate programming, which is a departure from previous years.

As COVID-19 continues to tear through the U.S., some event organizers are already making the call to move 2021 activities online—including one of Portland's largest productions of new theatrical works.

The Fertile Ground Festival has announced it will become a free, virtual program next year, running Jan. 28-Feb. 7. Organizations and artists can submit recorded content for consideration, and selected pieces will be streamed over the course of 11 days on the festival's Facebook and YouTube platforms.

Since transitioning to a virtual event means there will be a limited number of available slots, a panel will curate programming, which is a departure from previous years. Organizers say they're using the change as an opportunity to ensure underserved communities are included.

"I believe we have a pivotal, vital opportunity to meaningfully invite new artistic voices into the festival," said festival director Nicole Lane in a press release, "while challenging all artists to innovate their work for this new kind of digital performance, and in doing that evolve Fertile Ground."

Fertile Ground is seeking content from a wide range of artists on a variety of topics and welcomes an array of artistic genres and disciplines. Submissions will be accepted now through Friday, Sept. 4. Find more details on the festival's website.

Fertile Ground isn't the only performing art organization that's pivoting online. Friends of Chamber Music will offer virtual live concerts by four acts that were scheduled to play in person to audiences this fall, including Pacifica Quartet, Richard Goode and Sarah Shafer, the Tambuco Percussion Ensemble, and the Fauré Piano Quartet. Exact dates of the performances are scheduled to be announced later.

Patrons who purchased seats for any of those shows have the option to donate the value of the ticket to Friends of Chamber Music as a tax deductible gift, exchange the ticket for a live concert later in the season, or request a full refund.

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