The George Town Festival 2013

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Penang’s annual festival of arts, culture, and heritage spans a period of a month (7 June to 7 July) and is a highlight in the country’s festival calendar circuit. Held in Penang’s capital city, the George Town Festival (GTF) receives over 150 proposals from local and international arts and cultural groups annually, draws in more than 150,000 visitors from the region, and is widely covered in international, regional, and local media.

Featuring the best in art, dance, film, music, opera, and theatre, this year’s lineup revolves around the keywords of “community”, “interaction”, and “spaces”. Festival director Joe Sidek says: “As in previous years, we hope to present the best of art and cultural productions here in Penang. We are truly humbled by the expectations expressed of us and we are taking this as a sign of confidence that George Town is poised to be a vibrant and diverse cultural centre in Malaysia and in the region.”

Highlights include the opening ceremony and kite festival aptly named Taking Off; the all-new trail of art and greenery Secret Gardens of Earthly Delights; the specially commissioned contemporary dance performance Bridges & Kaki Lima’ the three-day community celebrations; Heritage Celebrations; Intriguing Instruments under the Victoria Street Project; and the talk and exhibition series Arus Melayu.

In a change from previous years’ lineup, two exciting events have chosen to make their debut at this year’s festival: Roughcut, the film symposium by Tropfest South East Asia, and the photography festival Obscura Festival.

“We hope these highlights and the complete festival calendar reflect the reputation and heritage of Penang as a dynamic and cosmopolitan cultural centre, and will inspire festival-goers from all over the world,” Sidek adds.

Commemorating George Town’s 2008 inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the annual celebration is highly anticipated by both local Penangites and Malaysians throughout the country. Each year since 2009, GTF has transformed George Town into an exciting and unique platform for the arts, heritage, and culture, and 2013 will be no exception. The unique characteristic of this particular festival lies in its well-balanced blend of local cultural performance and events with cutting edge international performances. For centuries, Penang was renowned as an international commercial gateway. GTF was created to put George Town and Penang back on the world stage as an international boutique destination for art and culture. International media giants such as The New York Times, CNNgo, and the Wall Street Journal have already covered the festival in all its glory.

Inaugrated and initiated by the State Government of Penang in 2010 to commemorate George Town’s inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage listing, this year’s festival promises to be stronger and better than ever.



What: George Town Festival 2013
When: 7 June-7 July
Where: Various locations in and around George Town, Penang
What: Art, music, theatre, dance, culture, history, parties
How: www.georgetownfestival.com


Source: Senses of Malaysia May-Jun 2013

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