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Mérida Fest 2021 will be a hybrid celebration

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A previous Mérida Fest was all about attracting crowds. For 2021, the priority is to avoid them. Photo: File

With so many in-person events going virtual, it might be assumed that Mérida Fest 2021 will be online only. Not so.

The annual cultural bash, which will celebrate Mérida’s 479th birthday, will be a hybrid of 50% streaming and 50% live pre-pandemic-style face-to-face gigs, either in a traditional theater space or outdoors via a mobile caravan.

Indoor music, theatrical, dance and circus events will have capacity capped at 30%, said Irving Berlin Villafaña, municipal director of culture. Most will be staged at the Olimpo Cultural Center and the Peón Contreras theater. Other venues include the Teatro Casa Tanicho, el Conservatorio de Danza de Yucatán and La Rendija.

A call for artists and performers recently closed and organizers are still sifting through applications to see who will be in the spotlight from Jan. 5 to 24. A separate call for singers of Yucatecan Trova remains open.

While considered an international event, the 2021 fest will favor local talent because “our culture must be kept afloat,” said Berlin Villafaña.

A plan to bring an art exhibit from Mexico City’s Museo Soumaya to Mérida is not likely to happen, local media reported. The state would have to be operating under a yellow or green “traffic light,” and Yucatán is seen as most likely hanging on to orange — the second-highest stage of alert — in January.

But in the City Museum, an exhibition featuring the work of Oaxacan painters will be presented within the framework of the festival.

Berlin said that no pandemic should stop art.

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