LIVE ENTERTAINMENT TO DOWNTOWN ORLANDO
-- Arts center pioneers socially-distanced outdoor venue to give festival-goers
a safe, healthy environment --
Dr. Phillips Center is planning a six-month,
Plans call for transforming the arts center’s three front parcels, including the Seneff Arts Plaza, into the region’s most unique, dedicated outdoor entertainment venue that will showcase a diverse mix of music, comedy, films, health and wellness programs, and local community arts performances.
The arts center hopes to launch the festival sometime in December and eventually offer programming seven days a week.
“COVID-19 has created significant challenges for performing arts centers and stages around the world,” said Dr. Phillips Center President and CEO Kathy Ramsberger. “To keep our mission moving forward, our team has come up with a unique way for guests to re-connect and re-engage with one another and enjoy live entertainment and culture again. This big idea is gaining fantastic support by sponsors, partners and artists.”
Many performances will be ticketed, allowing artists and arts groups to generate some much-needed revenue, and there are plans to offer daytime programs showcasing professional musicians at no cost.
“More than anything, we’re excited to produce a platform that will reunite artists and wellness instructors with live audiences,” Ramsberger said.
Health & Safety First
Yesterday, the Orlando City Council unanimously approved a $250,000 grant request from the Community Redevelopment Agency that will be used to help build the event infrastructure—staging, sound, lighting, and fencing, among other elements.
Front Yard Festival Accelerates Arts Center’s Long-Range Plan
Since the arts center opened in 2014, the Seneff Arts Plaza has been utilized by several local arts organizations to host special events, including Orange County’s annual “Fusion Fest” and Creative City Project’s annual “Immerse.” It also became a gathering point for thousands of community members to mourn and memorialize those lost in the Pulse tragedy in 2016.
“Fully activating the arts center’s front parcels and Seneff Arts Plaza has always been part of our long-range plan,” said Ramsberger. “We had intended to complete Phase 2—Steinmetz Hall and The Green Room—then turn our attention to conceptualizing how we could transform the plaza into a vibrant, active outdoor space for the arts, entertainment and wellness.
“Once we began to understand the full implications of COVID, however, and how it will continue to impact the entire entertainment industry for months to come, we decided to move up our timeline and focus more resources on the plaza while at the same time finish Phase 2.”
Because the Front Yard Festival will take place in a controlled, socially-distanced outdoor environment, the arts center has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from artists, agents and touring companies, nearly all of which have been unable to perform for months. Likewise, corporations who’ve been approached as potential partners are also excited about the opportunity to once again engage with consumers in person.
“Everyone we’ve talked to is so excited and supportive about working together to help launch the festival,” said Ramsberger. “The spirit of this project is about providing a lift to the entire community through positive partnerships, and that’s what makes the Front Yard Festival so meaningful and worthwhile.”
Additional announcements about opening dates, shows, tickets, and sponsors will be shared in the coming weeks.