The Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival (YSDAF), Malaysia’s biggest free-for-all arts festival has finally returned after five long years. Presented by Yayasan Sime Darby and The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac), YSDAF 2023 themed “Shout it Out: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow,” kicked off in February and ends with the festival finale on 19 and 20 August 2023. A highlight of the local arts calendar since 2014, the biennial festival has brought the arts to 50,000 festival goers and created 2,600 job opportunities for artistes and arts workers.
This 4th edition of YSDAF is special because it is a comeback edition. After YSDAF 2018, works began immediately for the next edition, however, the pandemic forced the planned launching of the festival in February 2020 to be put on hold. This year, YSDAF 2023 will be filling the void by bouncing back stronger than ever.
Beyond the Arts
The past two years have been a wake-up call, be it on the state of the arts or our nation. YSDAF 2023 is an invitation to ‘Shout It Out’ on issues that are dear to our hearts – be it the arts, community, health, education or environment – and stake a claim in our collective future.
YSDAF 2023 will continue to bring back everything that it is so well-loved for and also expand its reach to more diverse communities and issues.
As the only festival in Malaysia to have its crew undergo Disability Equality Training (DET) and Disability Related Services Training (DRST), YSDAF continues to build on its past efforts on diversity and inclusivity in line with the ‘arts for all’ spirit.
Y.A.M. Tunku Tan Sri Imran Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Ja’afar, Chairman of Yayasan Sime Darby, expressed that “Yayasan Sime Darby is excited to welcome the return of the YSD Arts Festival after a long COVID hiatus. Aside from celebrating the arts, this festival was and will continue to be a great representation and platform for inclusivity and diversity of our society via our local art scene, highlighting the various important causes that Yayasan Sime Darby supports under our 5 pillars. We look forward to unveiling meaningful exhibitions, performances, and showcases that will reach a wider audience through easy accessibility, and greater collaboration of the arts industry.”
For Malaysian by Malaysian
YSDAF 2023 features an all-Malaysian contingent, from fresh young talents working hand in hand with experienced personalities to young producers trained by seasoned producers. Lifting each other up, the festival aims at healing the Malaysian arts industry from the talent-drain crisis we face.
Executive Producer & Co-Founder of klpac, Dato’ Faridah Merican said this year’s festival promises a wonderful celebration for everyone in the Malaysian family.
“We have almost 350 showcases and activities planned in 19 pocket locations around klpac. It involves approximately 1,000 artistes and crew and is expected to attract at least 18,000 festival goers.”
“Nowhere else will you be able to sample such a wide variety of what the local arts scene can offer from the traditional to the contemporary, dance to theatre, mainstream to the experimental. The festival also includes hands-on workshops, demonstrations, installations, screenings and more, spread over 48 hours,” she added.
YSDAF 2023 will be kicking off six months of activities starting with an open call for project ideas via Pitch Start.
Pitch Start is a platform for artistes and art groups to submit their creative and original ideas, in any language or genre, for a chance to win a grant of up to RM20,000 and to premiere the work at the festival finale.
Staying true to the festival theme, this third run of Pitch Start is on the lookout for innovative ideas for a curated interactive mixed media experience on Yesterday, Today or Tomorrow from a Malaysian perspective. Open call begins in March while the closing date for submission of proposals is 30th April 2023. Guidelines and application forms can be obtained at www.ysdartsfestival.com.my.
Leading up to the grand finale, other highlights in the coming months include open auditions for the festival’s Gala Night, a performing arts training programme for the disabled, a Radiohead tribute and more.
So there you have it. A feel-good celebration of the arts and the best part, it is free for all.