Our story begins in 2010 as an arts-centric platform to commemorate George Town’s inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. George Town Festival (GTF) has since remained dedicated to elevating the visibility of arts and culture and fostering a deeper appreciation for heritage in Penang and beyond. Currently in its 14th edition, George Town Festival returns from 15 – 30 July 2023 with over 50 programmes held across various cityscapes and localities, promising a festival for all to enjoy.

As an influential voice of the arts, culture, and heritage, GTF 2023 features outstanding works by Malaysian and international artists ranging from traditional, experimental, and multidisciplinary productions of varied art forms, including music, dance, visual arts, and multimedia. Through collaborations and partnerships, the 16-day Festival (re)creates spaces for all to witness and experience the many narratives, colours, textures, and portrayals of characters and identity(s) shaped by indigenous, ethnic, and intercultural perspectives.

Here at GTF, we believe that the arts not only prompt community togetherness but have the power to inspire and transform the way we see ourselves and our relationships with each other. To extend our commitment to community engagement, we have included family-oriented, community-based, and children-friendly performances and events in several localities within Penang. Our firm and continuing vision is to create a festival that promotes inclusivity, accessibility, and diversity, uniting local communities and festival–goers across generations, backgrounds, and nationalities around a shared love of the arts and the stories they tell.

Our programmes are also curated to bridge aspects of our tangible and intangible heritage. By holding performances and events in various locations, including lesser-known spaces, outdoor environments, and niche venues, we continue to challenge and spur discussions on how the arts can be performed and viewed. This way, the Festival catalyses newer experiences in the arts.

Collectively, George Town Festival 2023 positions art as the thread that weaves tradition, culture, and heritage, creating a tapestry of human experiences through the arts and the things that hold us together.

This is art in all its glory. A festival for everyone, as it should be.

George Town Festival 2023 is a project by George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI), organised by TLM Event, and endorsed by the Penang State Government and the Penang State EXCO for Tourism and Creative Economy (PETACE). It is fully supported by the City Council of Penang Island (MBPP) and Penang Global Tourism (PGT).