Malaysia’s foremost multi-disciplinary hub of music, dance, theatre, live art and everything in between, brings different communities under one roof at Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival 2018: You, Me + The Arts

Thousands of festival-goers enjoyed the various thrilling performances, fun workshops and interesting exhibitions that were available at the YSDAF 2018. 

Kuala Lumpur, 18 August 2018 – The two-day Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival (YSDAF) opened at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac) earlier today with pounding, pulsating beats. The rhythms were provided by Drum Simfoni and YMCA Deafbeat & Friends. 

Striking the first beat to declare the festival open, was Yayasan Sime Darby acting chairman, Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Wan Zahid Mohd Noordin. Dubbed Malaysia’s biggest free-for-all arts festival, YSDAF is a local community project to showcase the homegrown arts scene. Many who attend the festival, come for the 350 odd arts activities and performances. 

Wan Zahid said the Foundation is proud to be organising the third edition of the arts festival that will not only shine a spotlight on the work of numerous local artistes but also give a voice to many communities on the fringes of Malaysian society. “Since its first edition in 2014, YSDAF has grown towards building a brand of its own and is recognised as an important platform for emerging local talent to showcase their work,” she said. 

This year’s YSDAF, themed “You, Me + The Arts,” is a heartfelt edition as it brings different communities under one roof. A festival of diverse voices, YSDAF 2018 sees the arts joining hands with other communities and causes. "There is something here for everyone," said klpac’s co-founders Dato’ Dr. Faridah Merican and Joe Hasham OAM, adding that the festival attracts "children, disabled, foreigners - even those who just want to relax under the open sky."

“One of the things we have always believed in is that the arts is for everyone. It knows no boundaries. This festival, we are taking it one step further to make the arts more inclusive and accessible from the ground up. Besides removing price barriers and providing shuttle vans for easier access, we have sign language interpreters stationed at our Information Counter and a special team of Festival Ambassadors to assist disabled persons. In fact, in an unprecedented move, all Page 2 of 3 ground crew received training in wheelchair handling, how to assist the blind and basic sign language.” 

On the programming front, YSDAF has special cause-related activities alongside the usual arts offering. Hasham is bringing back a new and improved version of Adam! The Musical which follows the story of a person living with HIV, while Merican is directing Life Sdn Bhd: Issues which brings real stories on current social issues on stage. There is also a touchable museum catered for the visually-impaired, workshops like Disability Equality Training, Dance Movement Therapy for Special Needs and gender equality workshops, as well as, performances by The National Autism Society of Malaysia, YMCA DeafBeat and IDEAS Academy. 

Fuelled by the overwhelming response from previous festivals that garnered more than 30,000 visitors, YSDAF 2018 will take you on a journey through crowd favourites as well as new programmes in line with the festival theme. 

Other notable activities and performances are Sounds & Sights of Orang Ulu by The Tuyang Initiative featuring sape’ master Mathew Ngau Jau and an interactive session with Andi Miranti, a teenage author/illustrator diagnosed with autism. Put together by a 500-strong contingent of Malaysian artistes and arts workers, nowhere else will you be able to enjoy such a wide sampling of the arts at one go, to include dance, music, comedy, theatre, visual arts and children’s theatre in the form of performances, hands-on workshops, forums, screenings and exhibits. 

Music fans are treated to a line-up of bands curated by Soundscape Records which comprises indie rock legends Bittersweet, experimental act Pastel Lite and Azmyl Yunor & Orkes Padu. Families with children are not left out at the festival. 

The day is filled with age appropriate workshops and activities, including a storytelling followed by hands-on workshop by Anak Rimba Books and a shadow puppet performance called Hoong Siamang Hooong by Hongjiejie Work Station. 

YSDAF 2018’s theme is all about people and is an extension of YSD’s work under its Community & Health Pillar. Past YSDAF 2018 activities include the Pitch Start open call, a Battle of the Bands, a child-rights school outreach programme called Stand Up! and the satellite event …And the Curtain Rises. 

A Malaysian community project to showcase the local arts scene, the biennial festival offers a highly engaging, interactive and feel-good festival experience for children through to adults. 

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Last Updated:
20 Aug 2018
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