George Town's "Mr Festival"

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After taking its first tentative steps in 2010, the George Town Festival has become an impressive show that has excited crowds and performers alike. The man responsible for much of the planning is the festival's director, Joe Sidek. Joe is a well-known figure in the Penang art world, whose optimism is infectious.

With only RM400,000 from the state and a tight six-week deadline, the first George Town Festival (GTF) was inaugurated in 2010 to celebrate Penang’s World Heritage listing. The shortfall in expenses was covered through partnerships and sponsorships, and in the end, the organisers proved that the festival was a viable enterprise and managed to reap an RM20,000 profit.

Bey Pheai (“not bad” in Hokkien lingo). Its programmes then were largely local, such as “Emily of Emerald Hill” and a Chinese opera, together with the rescreening of films (“The Blue Mansion” and “The Red Kebaya”) that were shot in the Cheung Fatt Tze Mansion.


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