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Thursday, December 16, 2021

Frontyard Festival ends: Dr. Phillips Center brings outdoor concert series to a close

Posted By on Thu, Dec 16, 2021 at 3:07 PM

click to enlarge Goodbye Frontyard Festival - PHOTO BY MATT LEHMAN FOR ORLANDO WEEKLY
  • Photo by Matt Lehman for Orlando Weekly
  • Goodbye Frontyard Festival
As the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts gears up for its Grand Celebration season at Steinmetz Hall that will kick off 2022, it also this week closed the book on the Frontyard Festival series of outdoor arts events.

"For now, we’re saying goodbye to our Frontyard Festival, presented by AdventHealth," read a Tuesday morning post on the Dr. Phil's Facebook page. "What an incredible experience — and it was all possible thanks to the most amazing colleagues, partners, donors and community."

The announcement caught us a bit by surprise and when we double-checked the dedicated page on the Dr. Phillips Center's website for Frontyard Festival programming, sure enough, it too had had been taken down.

Though reactions online were of saddened surprise on the part of Dr. Phil's followers, this wasn't an abrupt decision. Back in June, the Dr. Phil was granted funds by Orange County for an extension of Frontyard Festival programming through mid-December — which is right where we are now.

That was an extension of the FF's original brief to provide six months of outdoors programming across all the performing arts, a brief they fulfilled ably, putting on shows by everyone from the Wailers to King Crimson as the first-of-its-kind long-term outdoors performing arts series. For a time in 2020, it was one of the few places in the country safely hosting touring bands and performers.

The "for now" seems to indicate the door is open just a crack for future Frontyard Festival-style programming, and with the Omicron variant in Central Florida now, maybe it would be best to hold on to all those outdoor seating pods for a little while yet.

In the meantime, the Dr. Phillips Center is going full speed ahead with a busy slate of planned programming at Steinmetz and in the Pugh and Disney theater spaces.

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