Tired of attending the same art festival year after year? Time to broaden your horizons with these 4 very different festivals that you can still catch in 2019.
By Kay Lynn Chua
Get inspired by local and international acts, learn a new skill, or even make a new friend. With so many art festivals happening in the second half of the year, you won’t possibly be able to attend all of them. Which one will you choose? Take your pick from this handy guide we’ve put together.
1. The all-rounder
Where: George Town, Penang
When: 13th-28th July 2019
For 16 days the George Town Festival transforms the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s nooks and crannies into spaces buzzing with creative energy. Leave no part of the city unexplored as historic clan houses, back alleys, and five-foot ways turn into places for festival-goers to connect with local and international creatives. Delve into a cultural mixing pot with theatre events like BIRDS, a collaboration between visual theatre company WHS from Finland and Pichet Klunchun Dance Company from Thailand. Perhaps you want to learn a new skill? Challenge yourself at the adult drumming workshop conducted by renowned Malaysian drumming group HANDS Percussion. Whatever it is, a myriad of visual art workshops, creative talks, dance and theatre performances are always at your fingertips at this festival. For the complete lineup click here
2. The city slicker
Where: Multiple locations, Kuala Lumpur
When: 31st August – 19th October 2019
The 5th edition of the KLIAF is back again for a city-wide, month-long lineup of music, dance, theatre, visuals arts, and literature for all ages. 15 locations across the city will be pulsating with showcases of international and local talent so there should be no excuse not to attend a performance or exhibition. There will be pre-festival programmes from 19th August to 1st September at the Intermark Mall leading up to the main festival.
A highlight of this festival is the DiverseCity Arts Outreach Programme dubbed ‘Hari Seni’. The programme brings a part of the festival directly to 5 public housing projects, inviting residents to enjoy great food, performances, and exhibitions.
3. The small-town wonder
Where: Pangkor Island, Perak
When: 13th September – 15th September 2019
Three words: beach, culture, art. The OACA’s (Oriental Art & Cultural Association) biennial Pangkor Island Festival is your excuse to go from the hustle and bustle of the city to your weekend getaway by the beach. Ring in the 5th Pangkor Island Festival with another exciting educational and cultural experience. This year’s festival promotes transnational art and cultural exchange by showcasing island-based artists from Taiwan, Macau, Japan, and South Korea alongside local environmental groups.
Local talent takes centre stage with visual arts by Yap Hong Ngee and Lee Muji as well as performances by Orang Orang Drum Theatre. The whole island turns into a creative playground with art installations, film screenings, a cultural bazaar, fishing competitions and many more events. For more information, watch this space
4. The free spirit
Where: St.Paul’s Hill, Malacca
When: 11th – 24th November 2019
Trade the stroll along Jonker Street for a weekend of art at the historic St. Paul’s Hill. The Melaka Arts and Performance Festival (MAPFest) is a site-specific festival for artists of various disciplines, backgrounds, and levels to shed all differences and come together for the love of creative power. This year’s MAPFest focuses on how art has the power to provoke awareness of sustainability and the environment. For 2 weeks, bask in the beauty of nature through the festival’s 3 segments: EXPERIMENTUM, CONTEMPLATIVE TRANCE, & PERFORMANCE.
EXPERIMENTAL is an artist-led space where ideas are free to flow in a creative forum. Here, participants will explore filmmaking, art installations and work with artist-facilitators from Japan, Australia, and Malaysia. CONTEMPLATIVE TRANCE is a 4-day workshop exploring movement aesthetics through performative practice. The final segment, PERFORMANCE encourages all festival-goers to participate in a site-specific performance and installation. To find out more about this festival click here
Kay Lynn Chua studied fine arts and in addition to writing, is a business development executive at a gallery in Kuala Lumpur.