Inaugural Meeting of Chiang Mai Festival

September 3

Inaugural Meeting of Chiang Mai Festival City at MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum. The meeting was organised by Ben Svasti Thomson, Honorary British Consul in Chiang Mai. A month-long programme of art, theatre and musical events across Chiang Mai during the month of December, inspired and modelled on the Edinburgh Festival, the world’s leading festival city, is in the works. The idea is to turn Chiang Mai into the Festival City of the East. To draw together a host of already recognised arts and music events in Chiang Mai and complement them with a youthful indie fringe arts scene and put them all under one festival city umbrella to form a month-long programme of arts and music events which highlight the creativity and cultural diversity of Chiang Mai and put the city firmly on the world arts and music festival circuit benefiting both the local artistic scene and local tourist economy. The aim is not to manage the local arts scene but rather to provide opportunities for local artists to flourish, grow and engage themselves with a wider international audience. Nor is the aim to compete with established art events but rather to invite them all to join as partners under a mutually beneficial festival banner which will draw in even wider audiences and benefit all. The Chiang Mai Festival City project will benefit both the local arts scene as well as the city economy. For example the Edinburgh Festival attracts over 3 million visitors and draws roughly 22 billion baht directly into the city economy and a further 22 billion baht indirectly into the region annually. Ben Svasti Thomson explained to Citylife, “In just the Edinburgh Fringe Festival there are 50,000 shows involving artists from all around the world. Every year, during one month, 3.27 million visitors attend these festivals in Edinburgh bringing an equivalent of 44 billion baht into the local economy. Chiang Mai could also become a Festival City like Edinburgh and reap the same artistic and economic benefits. Indeed, we have many characteristics similar to Edinburgh such as being a northern highlands capital city with our own history and culture and a strong reputation for creativity and arts. We are pleased to announce that the key organisers of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival have already expressed support and are happy to act as advisors to Chiang Mai Festival City. We intend to put Chiang Mai on the World Festival City map and set our eyes on a positive future beyond COVID-19″. After the meeting, Eric Bunnag Booth, the owner of Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum gave a tour of the museum to participants who included representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, the mayors’ office, the PAO and other interested persons.

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