Arts festival organizers are betting on the southern zone this year

The culture ministry is taking another big chance this year by organizing the  XXVI Festival Nacional de las Artes in communities in the southern part of the country instead of the Central Valley.

The festival last year was a disaster, in part because the Solís administration insisted on putting activities in other communities. In some cases, the sound system never caught up with the activity. And there were major scheduling problems.

The festival was such a flop that key public employees lost their jobs, including the culture minister

This year, under a new minster of Cultura y Juventud, the festival will be even further away from the Central Valley.  The festival is Aug. 5 to 12.

The locations are  Ciudad Neily, Golfito, San Vito, Agua Buena, La Cuesta, Comte, Río Claro, Ciudad Cortés, Palmar Norte and Rey Curré.

The ministry has been conducting meetings in the southern zone for the last three weeks to find artisans who want to sell arts and crafts that express the cultural heritage of the region, it said. Participation is being restricted to those who live in the area, and those who want to participate have to submit an application and photos of their works.

Among those sought are those who use materials from the area and construct their crafts by hand, said the ministry.

In the past the festival took over Parque la Sabana and there were hundreds of exposition booths and vendors.

Performers already had to apply to the  Centro de Producción Artística for participation.

Some 600 million colons ($1.13 million) is allocated for the festival, which is not being called international this year. Organizers have dropped the word international because participation is being restricted to Costa Rica participants and performers.

The ministry said that officials hope to have an international festival in 2017 and 2018 because they need time to approach other countries and foreign groups.

A festival crowd from a prior year.

A festival crowd from a prior year.

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