Image Credit: themalaymailonline.com
We can add another reason for you to stop over at Penang, and it’s not just for the mouth-watering food, but you could enjoy some culture and art at George Town Festival! Originally a two-day festival with tight funding and space, the festival has blossomed into an annual tradition that celebrates Penang’s lust for music, culture and performing arts. We think this calls for a road trip!
What is George Town Festival?
It’s an annual, month-long, celebration of arts, culture, heritage and community. Inaugurated in 2010 in honour of George Town’s designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the festival converts the city into a global stage showcasing world-class performances, installations and collaborations from international and local artists alike. The festival has over one hundred distinctive shows, events and displays each year and seeks to generate vibrant new-fangled connections between traditional and contemporary art forms.
George Town Festival draws thousands of visitors each year to Penang, and is rapidly becoming one of Asia’s must-see happenings. Nurturing talents in the arts and providing them with the platform to go further, this festival does make world-class arts accessible to the broader community. George Town Festival turns six this year and festival director Joe Sidek is a man of many pursuits. On the side, he manages his family-owned textile auxiliary enterprise and in 2014, he was kept busy when he sealed the deal for Tropfest Southeast Asia.
The supporters and organisers of George Town Festival. Image: pocketnews.com.my
The Festival aims to give communities access to the arts through affordably-priced world class shows and free events. This year, it intensifies its focus with the launch of the Arts for Humanity movement, a platform that aspires to create greater community engagement to administer better access to educate and foster talents.
Some of the major must-sees at the festival would include Missing, which is an award-winning physical dance piece by Gecko. It features a series of amazing images, jaw-dropping choreography and a provoking multilingual vocal landscape.
Kaash, is also another dance piece that should not be missed as it was named “best modern choreography” by the Critics’ Circle National Dance Award in 2002. The internationally renowned sculptor Anish Kapoor and composer Nitin Sawhney, worked alongside choreographer Akram Khan, who continues to build bridges between the world of contemporary dance and Indian classical dance.
All That Fall is theatre which commands attention from the start, with its multi-layered composition of voices that can be experienced as a black comedy, a murder mystery, a cryptic literary riddle or a quasi-musical score. Set in an exceptionally atmospheric, theatrically-tuned listening chamber, this is Pan Pan Theatre’s endeavour into experimentation.
Chekara, is a dance performance that dazzlingly combines flamenco and the Andalusian music of Morocco known as al-ala, which originated from the courts of Seville, Granada and Cordoba during the Golden Age of Al-Andalus. It’s a rich depiction of the Mediterranean spirit marked by that dialogue of cultures.
If you are thinking of attending George Town Festival, here are the details:
Date: July 29 – August 28 2016
Venue: Dewan Sri Pinang, MBPP Town Hall, Esplanade and all around George Town.
Origin of Events: Local – 58.3% and International – 41.7%
Genre: Art, Comedy, Dance, Exhibitions, Film, Food, Music, Photography, Talks, Theatre, Workshop and others.
Ticket Prices: RM 25 (students), RM65, RM85, & RM125
Venue: George Town Festival
Contact: +604 261 6308
Event website: georgetownfestival.com
This festival is conceivably the best festival showcasing art, culture and heritage in and beyond the ASEAN region in Malaysia and is set to become one of the world’s best event destinations! The George Town Festival positions high on our to-do list and the festival has leaped to greater bounds with each passing year.