Drive-in cinemas and Covid-compliant hedonism: welcome to the summer of the arts 2021 | Culture


isIt’s hard to imagine – as we pass closed cinemas and built-in concert halls, theaters still display faded posters for long-abandoned productions and galleries whose only patrons are security guards – that one day everything will be open again.

After spending the last year trying to bring out the cultural value of Joe Wicks’ musical selection and the Cajun seasoning of our overpriced recipe kits, we are now ready to step into a world where artistic options do not exist. are limited only by our imagination (also the availability of tickets and the R number). It’s been so long since we’ve been able to share the experience of pleasure – a state that is likely to feel as new to us as when we first ventured into the cultural world as a teenager. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by such an orgy of opportunities. The proposed date that clubs will reopen and festivals will be allowed, June 21, is touted as some sort of Dante’s hell but with worse waste issues.

In reality, there will likely be a slow and steady relaxation of the rules. Many institutions are finding innovative ways to make the most of the outdoors in spring, from the open-air staging of Bea Roberts’s And Then Come the Nightjars Minack Theater to Adura Onashile’s app-based audio play. , Ghosts, which takes individual members of the public on a walking tour. Glasgow.

Drive-in theaters and commercial art galleries are already welcoming visitors, but the unlock really begins on May 17, when theaters plan to reopen, with a huge backlog of delayed films, from Nomadland to the Oscars to hit reboots of Space Jam. Other venues will open at lower capacities or offer seated concerts, before things get closer to normal by the summer. This will of course depend on the virality and the variants that will not erase Boris Johnson’s “roadmap” for the return of theaters to theaters. Arguments over Covid passports and the exact number of centimeters spaced a safe distance apart are sure to rumble even after the first turnstiles have been clicked and the ticket stubs cut.

Roaming ... Frances McDormand in Nomadland.
Roaming… Frances McDormand in Nomadland. Photographie: Fox Searchlight Pictures / Allstar

Some things will not be the same. Many beloved sites will never reopen their doors as the burden of the pandemic is too much to bear. For those who survive, the precautions will remain in place and we will quickly get used to homes filled with heat guns and rapid tests. But some changes can also be positive. Before the pandemic, it was often felt that globalized streaming services were having a negative impact on popular culture, with the appeal of London and Los Angeles on young artists undermining the UK underground (it had been a long time since a British town had not produced, for example, a scene as cohesive as the breakbeat in Bristol in the 90s or the bassline in Sheffield in the 00s). But with many creatives spending the year reconnecting with others from their hometowns, we can see that Covid will have a regenerative impact on the cultural landscape.

What is certain now is that those who work in the arts are in desperate need of our patronage. For actors, artists and performers who were already working within the fine financial margins of a cultural career, the past year has been a travesty. Only our enthusiastic support will get them through.

Fields of dreams ... festivals are back!
Fields of dreams… festivals are back! Photographie: Matt Cardy / Getty

So if ever there was a time to burn the candle at both ends, stay out on a school night, overload your schedule with advance tickets, it’s now. It’s also a great time to try something new. The Ravers can research the opera program at the Longborough Festival. Those most used to the Royal Ballet may want to indulge themselves during a day-long festival in one of the Royal Parks.

There is already a feeling of feverish anticipation. Festivals such as End of the Road, Peckham’s Gala, and the crispy Mecca Boomtown typically take months to sell out; this year the tickets were gone in minutes. However, new events are constantly being announced and the Guide dedicates this issue to highlighting the best that is on offer in art, theater, music, comedy and film – events in full Covid-compliant pre-summer outdoors. bacchanalia of hedonism which will hopefully emerge after the summer solstice.

Many will have concerns about the safety of the premises and may still find it difficult to return to society. But for those who feel safe and ready to do so, it is time to reconnect with our senses: celebrating in dance and theater the incredible capacity of the human body; rejoice in the potential of our members to be screened across clubs and festival fields; or simply revel in the thrill of the multiplex.

Next year, the government plans to hold a festival to celebrate Britain’s independence following its exit from the European Union, a top-down moment of forced art that can provide acts of defiance. But Britain’s real festival feels like it’s starting now, in parks and venues across the UK. Open the doors wide, it’s time to start over.


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