Best Known as director of the George Town Festival, Joe Sidek has established himself as one of Malaysia’s strong advocates for the arts.
Before taking up the position of festival director, Joe Sidek played major roles in various forms of art expression – from event management, art curator-ship, restaurant ownership and even costume design. A lesser known fact about Joe is that he still runs his family–owned textile chemical factory, Chemdyes Sdn Bhd.
With his industrialist background, entrepreneurial nature and his visionary passion for the arts, it is no surprise that 8 years after his appointment as festival director of GTF in 2010, the festival has grown incrementally ever since. Alongside GTF in 2018, Joe also directed the 3-year-old Rainforest Fringe Festival in Kuching, having founded the festival in 2017. He also helmed the Butterworth Fringe Festival for 3 years (2015–2017) and earlier in 2014, he brought Tropfest, the world’s largest short film festival to Southeast Asia and showcased the inaugural Tropfest South East Asia in Penang.
He has been invited to speak regionally and internationally in cities like Brisbane, Taipei, Seoul, New York, Salzburg, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Chiang Mai, Seoul, Gwangju, Shanghai, Adelaide, Yokohama and Malta among others about his role in placemaking, advocacy of the arts and about Penang.
He is 2020-2022 chairman of Federation of Asian Cultural Promotion, an industry expert on the industry panel of Malaysian federal agency for the arts and culture, Cultural Economy Development Agency (CENDANA), and chairman of Penang Arts Council.