If you’re the creative type traveling to Penang, the idyllic island holds a few arts festivals annually that attract both local and international arts lovers. The cultural events are often filled with cultural shows, arts performances, creative bazaars selling handmade work, and more. These are the four arts festivals in Penang you should not miss if you love to learn about the local arts and culture:
- George Town Festival
One of the greatest global festivals, the George Town Festival is a month-long celebration of community, heritage, culture, and arts held once a year. With hundreds of collaborations with local and international star performers, you’re bound to meet your favorite performers and even have the chance to interact with them.
- George Town Literary Festival
For book lovers and wordsmiths, the literary festival in George Town is a golden opportunity for you to mingle with your favorite authors. It’s a perfect occasion to develop your writing craft further and have an intellectual discussion among the literary community. The festivals have seen well-known local and international authors sharing the stage.
- In-Between Arts Festival (IbAF)
IbAF is a three-day arts festival featuring a pop-up market, traditional shows (gamelan, potehi, wayang kulit, and Zapin workshop), film screenings, doodling artists at work, photography contest, charity auction, and an art exhibition. If you’re into visual and performance arts, this is the event you should visit.
- Penang Island Jazz Festival
The main event for music lovers and jazz enthusiasts, the Penang Island Jazz Festival sees thousands of visitors from around the world annually. The famous festival is also a favorite among celebrities and famous musicians to enjoy great music and drinks. Often held during the year-end, it’s a great way to usher in the New Year. Besides stage performances, there are also photo and poster exhibitions.
To explore all shows and activities at the festivals, it’s best to spend a few days at each festival and book a hotel nearby for convenience. For example, Lexis Suites Penang, a hotel near Bayan Baru Penang, is strategically located near the festivals. If possible, book your accommodation as soon as you can, as Penang will be the center of attention once the festivals are in full gear.