Festival of the Arts BOCA from Feb. 28 through March 8 was a hit, mostly in the tented Mizner Park Amphitheater.
Here’s a Q&A with executive director Joanna Marie Kaye and what they’re planning next year.
Q: Did you keep track of attendance and how did the festival do? Did you beat last year’s attendance and by how much?
A: Attendance last year was a bit higher. [Author and presidential historian] Doris Kearns Goodwin was the main reason why. We had over 1,000 people in the amphitheater just to see her.
Q: Do you already have plans for next year?
A: We are very excited about our 15th anniversary next year [March 5 to 14, 2021]. Superstar violinist Joshua Bell will return to the festival. We will also present, through a special partnership with FAU’s Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, legendary vocalist Bobby McFerrin. Stay tuned.
Q: What kind of feedback did you get from people who attended? What got the most feedback?
A: Feedback was overwhelmingly positive. It’s hard to say what got the most response. Every concert received a standing ovation. There was standing room only for Roz Chast and Laurie Santos. Everyone who attended Jesmyn Ward’s talk was moved beyond words.
Q: Did it matter there were no famous names?
A: That is a pretty subjective question. The Eroica Trio is very famous in the classical world as is Jesmyn Ward in the world of literary fiction. The nice thing about not having a superstar is that we did not have to pay superstar fees.
Q: What performances and speakers did the best and worse?
A: Postmodern Jukebox sold the most tickets and “The Empire Strikes Back’’ with live orchestra was a close second.” Roz Chast and Laurie Santos both sold out. If you take Doris Kearns Goodwin out of the equation from last year, all our authors sold more tickets than last year.
Q: Did the ticket sales cover the costs, or do you have to rely on donations and sponsors?
A: Ticket sales never cover costs of the festival. They traditionally cover about 25%. We rely heavily on individual, corporate and government sponsorships.
Q: What did you learn for next year?
A: The main thing is, if you present quality, the audience, no matter the size, will appreciate it.
By Marci Shatzman