THE most-awaited George Town Festival (GTF) 2022 returns to the full physical stage with an overwhelming response from the public.
The festival officially kicked off on July 9 with an official opening ceremony at the Hin Bus Depot in George Town.
GTF 2022 is being held over 16 days from July 9 to 24. It is a project by George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI), organised by TLM Event and endorsed by the Penang government.
Over 80 programmes, ranging from visual art, theatre, music, dance, film, photography and more, are taking place in George Town and beyond.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who was present to launch the GTF 2022, was delighted to see the festival resume fully physical this year.
“It was held online in 2020 and hybrid last year due to the Covid-19 crisis.
“And it is great to see that GTF can finally be held in fully physical format this year.
“With that, we have given more reasons for domestic and international travellers to revisit the state, especially for the arts and culture enthusiasts.
“With more than 80 exciting programmes to offer, I am certain that the 16-day celebration will be a hit among locals and visitors. Many of us have been looking forward to on-site events after missing them for over two years.
“This, in return, will also help to speed up the recovery of the arts and culture sector,” Chow said in his speech on July 9.
According to Chow, the state government has invested over RM30 million to organise the annual GTF since 2011.
“As a result, the GTF has grown in stature, both at home and internationally, and has made significant strides in the global arts scene.
“CNN Travel also dubbed GTF as ‘Best of Penang rolled up in one big festival’ while The New York Times reviewed it as a ‘festival growing into a major Asian arts event’.
“Through the success of GTF, we in Penang have established our position as a key player in Malaysia’s arts and cultural scene,” he said.
Chow added that the GTF also has aligned itself to the Penang2030 vision of ‘A Family-Focused Green and Smart State that Inspires the Nation’.
“Through this year’s impressive curation, the festival hopes to draw thousands of visitors, family members, and communities together while inspiring generations of art lovers and practitioners.
“Some of the programmes are also exceptionally creative and original in their approach while others blend arts, history, culture, and technology in perfect harmony.
“Thus, I want to commend the organiser for taking risks and having the foresight to make bold choices in this year’s curation to provide a shared space for festival-goers and to keep our community inspired.
“In some ways, GTF 2022 is a re-birth for the festival after two challenging years. And I am pleased that the very spirit of the festival has remained the same, and that is, to make arts accessible to all.
“It is my sincere hope that everyone will make time to explore the fascinating programmes on offer and to share our love for the arts and culture at GTF 2022,” said Chow.
Also present during the GTF 2022 launching ceremony were Pengkalan Kota assemblyman Daniel Gooi, Penang Island City Council secretary A. Rajendran, GTWHI general manager Dr Ang Ming Chee and GTF director Jack Wong.
Meanwhile, Wong said GTF 2022’s return to the physical stage has generated overwhelming responses from the public.
“The registrations for the festival’s free events are mostly full and more than 3,000 tickets for the festival’s ticketed shows were sold. Tickets for ‘The Senses’ and ‘Mozart at the Mansion’ were all snapped up one month before the shows.
“Under its theme ‘A Festival for Everyone’, the festival’s 13th edition has been curated to make arts accessible to all while aiming to inspire generations of art lovers and practitioners and advocating for creativity and originality.
“Festival-goers also can look forward to free programmes as 70 per cent of the GTF 2022 programmes are free-to-attend,” he said.
Story by Riadz Akmal
Pix by Muhamad Amir Irsyad Omar
Video by Noor Siti Nabilah Noorazis