GTF Georgetown Festival (2024)

Description

Since its inception in 2010, George Town Festival (GTF) has been driven by a mission to promote Penang’s arts, culture and heritage to the world. The festival sees over 100,000 festival goers annually, receiving attention from international media outlets over the years and generating more than 7.7 million ringgit in PR value, becoming an important driver for the development of Penang’s creative economy. An anticipated event on the global arts calendar, GTF has attracted arts performers, enthusiasts, sponsors and supporters eager to elevate Penang’s arts scene on the world stage.

Key Visual poster for GTF 2024

Taking place over 10 days from 19th-28th July 2024, the 15th iteration of George Town Festival is organised by Kerson Media Global Sdn Bhd, who will steer the festival in a fresh new direction. GTF 2024 is powered by the theme ‘Here & Now’, inviting everyone on a journey of reflection and reimagination, to uncover a fuller sense of George Town’s identity. The festival team unveiled the key visual for the festival, at a press conference held at Curios-City. 

Penang State Executive Councillor for Tourism and Creative Economy, YB Wong Hon Wai addresses the crowd.

“The festival was born from an evolved vision, expanding from the George Town World Heritage Celebrations that commemorate the city’s inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The festival is a wonderful fusion of both international and local elements, bringing out the best that Penang has to offer. GTF has also extended its artistic celebrations beyond the city to support arts activities in other parts of Penang island and the mainland, ensuring that the arts can flourish across Penang and that the soul of Penang’s arts scene continues to burn bright,” said YB Wong Hon Wai, Penang State Executive Councillor for Tourism and Creative Economy.

Festival Director Chin Teo delivers her opening speech.

“Building upon the great work done in previous editions, GTF 2024 will not only host international performing arts troupes and art exhibitions, but it will also bring creative activities into the city’s urban fringes, transforming unconventional spaces into performance venues that are uniquely George Town,” said Festival Director Chin Teo.

Festival Branding Designer Lian Kian Lek presents the key visual design concept for George Town Festival 2024.

Designed by multidisciplinary design studio Putticoop, GTF 2024’s key visual reflects the festival’s theme of redefining and self-discovery. Putticoop is built upon cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural collaboration, between a Kuala Lumpur-based architect and artist and a Hong Kong-based illustrator and brand designer. Utilising iconic and nostalgic shapes such as Penang Bridge and Komtar, a series of five posters offers a striking and refreshing experience that reflects George Town’s colourful diversity and the festival’s new direction.

“We began with the colours of Penang’s flag and expanded from there. We believe that not only should the linework and elements reflect the silhouette of the city, but the colours used should also reflect the scents, sounds and diversity of our culture,” said Putticoop founder Lian Kian Lek.

Artistic Director Ling Tang announces the results from the festival’s open calls, and reveals key community engagement programmes for GTF 2024.

The festival also announced its key community engagement programmes. In the pre-festival period, the Artist-in-Residence Programme will see selected artists immersing themselves in the heart of George Town and interacting with the community. They will create works inspired by their interpretations of the city, which will join the diverse lineup at the festival. A Community Outreach Programme will also bring the arts to the doorsteps of local communities like Taman Sri Janggus in Machang Bubuk and Bukit Tambun. This outreach initiative is made possible through the support of Penang2030 and the following local leaders: Minister of Human Resources and Member of Parliament for Bukit Mertajam, YB Steven Sim; Assemblyman for Machang Bubuk, YB Lee Khai Loon; and Assemblyman for Bukit Tambun, YB Goh Choon Aik.

Community engagement programmes during the festival period include site-specific performances ‘Yamsenglah!’ and ‘Journal of Her House’. The Kingdom of Childhood at Armenian Park and Journal Creative Market will transform local landscapes into sites for artistic activity.

“We want to collaborate and engage with local communities from different angles and on a deeper level, to strengthen the connection between the festival, the city and the community,” said Artistic Director Ling Tang.

The press conference was a smashing success.

In addition to the key visual and community engagement programmes, the festival launched its first teaser video, produced by ImageFarm. The teaser features five local artists across creative disciplines: Aida Redza (Dance), Ling Goh (Teochew Opera), Kumaran Rajangam (Tabla Playing), Trina Teoh (Text-Based Art) and Lee Chee Cheng (Signboard Carving).

The festival’s open call for proposals, which opened for applications in November 2023, attracted 364 applications from 56 countries. The festival’s Artist-in-Residence open call drew 87 applications from 29 countries, encompassing a diverse range of disciplines, including photography, theatre, digital art, literary translation and instrument building.

George Town Festival 2024 is a project of the George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI), organized by Kerson Media Global Sdn Bhd, endorsed by the Penang State Government, Penang2030, and Penang State EXCO Office for Tourism and Creative Economy (PETACE). It is also supported by the Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang (MBPP), Penang Global Tourism (PGT), and Jabatan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Negara Pulau Pinang (JKKN Pulau Pinang), with sponsorship from Elianware, Hanky Planty, and Passion in Arts.

The 10-day festival will officially unveil its full programme lineup and open ticket sales in May. The GTF team encourages the public to stay tuned for more exciting announcements on the festival’s website (www.georgetownfestival.com) and social media channels.

From left to right: 
Artistic Director Ling Tang; 
PDC Setia Urus Chief Operating Officer, Loi Kai Horng; 
Penang Island City Council (MBPP) Councillor, Benji Ang Ming Quan; 
Elianware, EE-Lian Enterprise (M) Sdn Bhd Managing Director, Dato’ Teoh Han Chuan; 
Penang State Assemblyman for Machang Bubuk, YB Lee Khai Loon; 
Penang State Executive Councillor for Tourism and Creative Economy, YB Wong Hon Wai; 
George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI) Community and Collaboration Acting Manager, Vick Quah; 
Passion in Arts Managing Director, Dato’ Jenny Oon; 
Festival Director, Chin Teo; 
Hanky Planty Founder, Caroline Ooi; 
Penang Global Tourism (PGT) Chief Executive Officer, Ooi Chok Yan; 
National Department for Culture and Arts Penang (JKKN Pulau Pinang) Director, Shapee Bin Che Embi; 
Penang Island City Council (MBPP) Corporate and Community Management Department Director, Muhammad Muashraf Bin Mohamed
The reveal of the new key visual for George Town Festival 2024. From left to right: Ling Tang, YB Lee Khai Loon, YB Wong Hon Wai, Vick Quah, Chin Teo