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Boca’s big arts festival sets hopeful March dates

With spring still iffy, Festival of the Arts BOCA has announced a return March 5 to 14, 2021, in the usually covered and seated Mizner Park Amphitheater.  “We’ll start selling tickets in November,” but timing is unpredictable because of the Covid crisis, said executive director Joanna Marie Kaye.

“Don’t worry, be happy” vocalist Bobby McFerrin is booked. His performance with the FAU chorus is co-sponsored by Florida Atlantic University. Violin virtuoso Joshua Bell will return, this time with his wife, opera singer Larisa Martinez. He was a headliner twice before. Both performers were announced after the 2020 festival. But other contracts are pending. “They’re the only thing we have so far. We can’t fill out the schedule yet. Everything is contingent on everything opening up,” Kaye said.

The annual festival has featured a classic movie like “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” with a full symphony orchestra. That probably won’t happen next year. “We’re not planning on it,” she said.

They are counting on the popular Authors and Ideas series. The 2020 festival’s Moth StorySLAM was a sellout.  “‘Stars Wars’ and Postmodern Jukebox would have sold out if it wasn’t for the Covid scare,” Kaye said.

What audiences can expect may be different in March. “We have no idea. Seating probably,” she said. “We’re open to every contingency. Whatever the CDC guidelines are at that time is what we’ll be following.”

In her 2020 annual report presented to city council, Kaye put the audience attendance at 11,364. “A strong season for the average ticket price at $51.11,” the report said. The total financial impact was $1,608,771, with attendees spending $368,150. “Overall sales were down about $100,000, but costs were far lower. We only had three big shows, vs. five in 2019,” the report said.

“The last public event was March 8,” so the final weekend was impacted,” Kaye said in the interview. “Some opted for refunds and would have come out, but were not comfortable, even though we’re outdoors.”

The city gives the festival a boost financially every year. They also raise money with sponsors. “We will be having a virtual gala in the fall,” announcement pending, Kaye said. Here’s a lookback in pictures on their Facebook page:

By Marci Shatzman



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