Celebrate the rich cultural diversity of Penang at its annual George Town Festival this summer. Inaugurated in 2010 in honour of George Town’s designation as a UNESCO World Heritage, the festival transform the Penang town into a stage to showcase performances, installations and collaborations with local and international artists from around the globe.
Highlights of the month-long festival include the A+SEAN Showcase, an outdoor event that includes giant installations of mammoth machines in Strandbeests by Theo Jansen and a host of popular bands from Malaysia and around the region.
In this short video you will see how “The Strandbeests” work
The George Town Festival commissioned Pearl of the Eastern & Oriental is not to be missed as well. Singaporean writer/director Lim Yu-Beng presents the second part in a trilogy of odes to his father’s home of Penang with an enchanting tale of a young female butler at the prestigious The Eastern & Oriental Hotel.
Beyond modern art shows are also heritage showcases. Svara Bhumi (Songs of the Earth), one of the official opening acts this year, will feature laeding aboriginal bands from Australia, New Zealand and the region.
Get yourself involved with the festival by participating in talks, workshops and heritage walks too. Liar’s Walk takes a crafty spin on popular walking tours available in George Town. Then listen in on stories from co-founder of Burning Man Festival, Larry Harvey, and prolific Cambodian director, Rithy Panh at Stories, Humanity and What About the Arts.
MAKE IT HAPPEN
George Town Festival runs from 29 July to 28 August this year. Some events are ticketed or may require prior reservation/registration.
AirAsia flies direct from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to Penang daily (airasia.com). Taxis here are cheap. Fares from Penang International Airport to George Town start from US$10.
How better to experience the UNESCO World Heritage Site of George Town than with a stay at Penang’s most iconic hotel? The Eastern & Oriental Hotel has been in service through two World Wars and has been the accommodation of many distinguished guests. The E & O continues to charm with its British colonial style in its facade and its rooms (from US$167 per night for Studio Suite).