Two of Dorset’s most popular arts festivals – Inside Out Dorset and b-side – are to be postponed until next year as a consequence of the on-going coronavirus pandemic.
Both biennial events had been set to return this September, Inside Out Dorset hosted by Dorchester-based outdoor arts producers Activate in extraordinary locations across the county and b-side on the Isle of Portland. Instead, as the global community contemplates the fiftieth annual international Earth Day, organisers have announced new dates for each – Inside Out Dorset will now take place from 17 to 26 September 2021 and b-side from 11 to 19 September 2021.
In a joint statement, Inside Out Dorset Co-artistic Directors Kate Wood and Bill Gee have said: “Today, 22 April, is Earth Day. As an organisation that takes inspiration from our landscapes and helps create enjoyment of the outdoors, we want to celebrate our Earth, take inspiration from the Dorset landscape, open up debate about climate change, question our role in preserving the planet, use our environment as a stimulus and create extraordinary experiences for all those that join us.
“Inside out Dorset is unique in that we present events across the county in rural and urban locations. We celebrate our unique environment and the communities of Dorset, and even though the festival may be postponed, this will not change. Inside Out Dorset will continue to bring world class art to Dorset.”
Alan Rogers, Executive Director of b-side, said: “It’s a difficult time for many people on the planet – Earth Day 2020 will be remembered as extraordinary. We can only hope it will also be remembered as a turning point in our thinking. Climate change requires an urgent global response, but this begins at a local level, and later this year b-side will launch Common Lands, a new three-year art programme, using Portland as a microcosm to explore our relationship to and with the land: both here and elsewhere. As an organisation b-side has always sought to listen to the needs and interests of artists, communities, partners and colleagues locally and much further afield. And, despite the current situation we find ourselves in, we will continue to do so and perhaps this is needed now more than ever.”
The decisions to postpone this year’s events were not taken lightly and although planning has been paused for the time being organisers hope to be able to confirm details of locations and participating artists once the current restrictions have been lifted.
Both festivals have attracted thousands of visitors to Dorset over the last 11 years, working with artists and Dorset residents to celebrate the unique and beautiful Dorset landscape. As well as supporting and showcasing local talent the festivals attract artists from around the globe, making Dorset one of the places to see and experience high quality contemporary art and outdoor arts.
“We will support the artists, freelancers and venues we planned to work with to ensure we can still work with them next year,” the joint statement continues. “We are both proudly European festivals, committed to presenting the best talent in contemporary art and outdoor arts from the UK and across Europe. This will not change. We choose to wait until our artists and audiences can travel safely to Dorset rather than go ahead without them.
“As we continue to observe social distancing the opportunity to be together may seem far away. However, it will come again – on hills, beaches, in forests and woodlands, we will be together once more, and we will celebrate.”