The Virtual National Arts Festival, due to kick off on 25 June 2020, has announced a new digital platform created especially for artists wanting to showcase their work and earn an income online. vFringe – a virtual version of the open access Fringe Festival – opened its doors today for submissions from artists.

National Arts Festival CEO Monica Newton says: “The need to move the arts online happened very suddenly and everyone in the industry is working as we go to develop systems that will fulfil the audience experience, retain the value and integrity of the arts, and protect the work of artists. We have invested in our own platform for vFringe because we can protect the work by ensuring it is encrypted and we can create a local space from which the growing body of online work can be collectively marketed. Our goal is to create a space that artists can use to monetise their work.”

The vFringe will add the same measure of wacky, cutting edge, and courageous work to the vNAF programme that its live counterpart always has in Makhanda. The vFringe will exist alongside a daily programme of curated content, virtual and 3D exhibitions, webinars, workshops and talks selected and presented by the Festival. Both the daily programme, and the unsolicited vFringe smorgasbord of the arts –  including comedy, cabaret, music, illusion and more, will be accessed through the www.nationalartsfestival.co.za portal. 

vFringe Manager Zikhona Monaheng explains: “There will be no cost to artists to showcase and upload their work but it will be moderated to ensure that it adheres to certain technical and legal specifications for online viewing. Various guides and documents will be made available to artists to ensure they have all the info at their fingertips – and artists should definitely sign up for the upcoming webinars on Creating Work for Digital Platforms on 15 and 22 May 2020.

“There are two types of entries we’ll list on vFringe: pre-recorded work hosted on our website for which we will sell ‘tickets’; and live streamed events, hosted on third party platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram etc… that audiences will be able to link through to. Hosting vFringe on the Festival website also means the process is free of high third party platform costs (usually charged in dollars) and 90% of the artists’ earnings will accrue directly to the artist (10% will cover banking and administrative fees). “

  • The Virtual National Arts Festival has opened the call for work and artists can now go to the Artist Zone to find the application form and all the specifications.
  • Guidelines on content, legal specifications, filming and editing facilities compliant with the lockdown restrictions, a webinar diary, and other tools and tips will become available in the Artist Zone.
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