THE George Town Festival (GTF) returns to Penang for the eighth time tomorrow, offering an exciting lineup of programmes all the way till Sept 3.
The city will once again be a global stage with countless world-class performances, exhibitions, installations, collaborations and more from local and international names.
Festival director Joe Sidek said GTF 2017’s opening weekend will be a rich showcase of Southeast Asian artistic, cultural and culinary delights.
It kicks off with Svara ASEAN at Dewan Sri Pinang at 9pm tomorrow and Saturday, which are 90-minute shows highlighting the sounds of the region.
It features the Philippines Madrigal Singers, Indonesian flute maestro Gus Teja, Thai mezzo-soprano Anchee, local artistes Adibah Noor and Sean Ghazi, as well as the Penang Philharmonic Orchestra.
Sidek highlighted that while this and some of GTF 2017’s programmes are ticketed, their prices are both affordable and reasonable if compared to similar shows in other countries.
“A good portion of the festival’s programmes are free for the public. We really hope locals will come out in force and support the arts.
“We’ve brought the world here, so please make the most of this opportunity,” he urged at a recent press conference at the Eastern and Oriental (E&O) Hotel Penang.
Also on Saturday is the ASEAN Design Forum at Bangunan UAB multipurpose hall in China Street Ghaut starting 9am, featuring creative talents like Eric Bunnag Booth, Rachaporn Choochuey, Kenneth Cobonpue, Priscilla Shunmugam and Sali Sasaki.
Later the same day at 6pm, the Macam-Macam ASEAN market will be launched at the Penang State Museum in Macalister Road. This continues until Sunday, when there will be performances from 7pm onwards.
Programmes for both days include Peperangan Bintang: Star Wars-inspired Wayang Kulit, Potehi: Kisah Pulau Pinang, Gus Teja World Music, a craft market, and a launch of the book The Fierce Aunty’s No-Nonsense Guide to the Perfect Laksa.
Sidek said locals will surely love the Laksa of the Region (LoTR) section at the ASEAN market with some 24 varieties of the mouth-watering noodle soup set to be on sale.
Other highlights for the weekend are the Malay Magic and Divination talk by Dr Farouk Yahya at Black Kettle from 3pm on Saturday, and the Journey to George Town play at Auditorium P. Ramlee House at 3.30pm and 8.30pm on Saturday, and 11.30am, 3.30pm and 8.30pm on Sunday.
There will also be a workshop on Saturday at 2.30pm and talk on Sunday at 4.30pm at the Bangunan UAB multipurpose hall by photojournalist Jimmy Nelson. This is in conjunction with his Before They Pass Away exhibition on tribal and indigenous people that runs until Aug 27 at the same venue.
Sidek also appealed to individuals, corporations or organisations to partner with them and sponsor community tickets for school children or company staff.
“Ideally, contributions of RM1,000, RM5,000 or RM10,000 are sought, but other amounts are also welcome.
“We hope this will help inculcate the next generation of patrons of the arts.
“Even if you are not into such shows yourselves, it would be great to expose children to it so they can decide for themselves.
“Who knows, it might inspire them to be a great artist in the future,” he added.
Interested parties may get in touch with his office via email@example.com or call 04-2616308/ 04-2613061.
Those who snap selfies and wefies during the festival should also tag their social media uploads with #gtf2017 and #georgetownfestival.
Then, look for the special M-ND machines that will be set up at select locations, to get instant printouts of the photos.
For ticketing info, call 04-2612660 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
To buy tickets, log on to www.airasiaredtix.com, visit the festival office at 86, Armenian Street or Artist Gallery outlets in Gurney Plaza and Queensbay Mall.
For a detailed programme rundown, visit www.georgetownfestival.com.
For the latest updates, follow georgetownfestival on Facebook and Instagram or gt_festival on Twitter.