Speech by Mr Charles Lee (Chairman of Hong Kong Arts Festival Society Ltd) at the 2006 Festival Kick-off Press Conference

October 18th, 2005

Friends from the media, participating artists, members of the Hong Kong Arts Festival Committees and friends from the arts and business communities.  Thank you for joining us today.

I am proud to introduce the 34th Hong Kong Arts Festival 2006, an annual celebration of the arts which has become a major event in the Hong Kong cultural calendar and in the Asia Pacific region.  It is a showcase for the best international and regional artists as well as the creativity of our own artistic community in Hong Kong.  The many world-class performances and presentations this Festival offers will be a great attraction in promoting Hong Kong internationally as a truly cosmopolitan and culturally vibrant international city.

Firstly, it is important to acknowledge and thank our main subventing organisations - the Hong Kong SAR 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 organisations for their continued patronage.

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

Our budget for the 2006 Festival is over $61 million.  We have received a subvention of $15.73 million from the Government through the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and a $3.61 million donation from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.  The Festival hopes to raise approximately $13.8 million through sponsorship, donations and the Young Friends Scheme and close to $28 million through ticket sales.

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 most encouraging as they will be our audiences of the future.

May I also express our appreciation for the help from the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) and the Government Information Services (GIS).

As you will see in a moment, the 2006 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 2006 Hong Kong Arts Festival.


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