Speech by Mr Charles Lee (Chairman of Hong Kong Arts Festival Society Ltd) at the 2004 Festival Kick-off Press Conference

October 16th, 2003

Friends from the media, participating artists, members of the Hong Kong Arts Festival Committee and friends from the arts community:

This is our 32nd Arts Festival, and it continues to be a major arts event in the Hong Kong cultural calendar and in the Asia Pacific region. It is a showcase for the best international and regional artists and also for the creativity of our own artistic community in Hong Kong.

Firstly, it is important to acknowledge and thank our main subventing organizations - the Hong Kong Government through the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust - without whose great support the Festival could not take place. We are indeed indebted to both organizations for their continued patronage.

In addition, the Festival deeply appreciates the generous support of numerous corporate sponsors, arts institutions and individuals.

As always, the Festival is keen to make the arts accessible to students and young audiences through the offer of half-price tickets and through our Young Friends Scheme. These schemes have been supported by donations from numerous corporate and individual donors over many years. Students from participating schools and universities have responded well. This is very encouraging as they will be our audiences of the future.

It is also important to express our appreciation for the help from other "Hong Kong family" partners; namely, the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) and the Government Information Services (GIS) "Hong Kong Brand" team. Our friends at the HKTB and GIS help us make sure that the international media, critics and the tourism industry continue to recognize the Hong Kong Arts Festival as an attraction and a noteworthy landmark event.

As you will see in a moment, the 2004 Festival programme is rich and diverse, catering to different tastes and preferences, and hopefully offering something for everyone, young and old. We thank you once again for your support and look forward to seeing you at the 2004 Festival.


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