Our Eat Travel Write Kuala Lumpur whole-day affair last October 17 culminated with the colorful extravaganza of Citrawarna @ Kuala Lumpur 2015, a grand cultural festival held annually at Dataran Merdeka at the heart of Kuala Lumpur since 1999. Departing from last year’s street parade format, this year’s celebration was set on a large stage in the middle of the square. The entire production comprised of more than 600 dancers from the different ethnicities in Malaysia. Built around the theme of “Culture, Nature and Future”, the festival show consisted of a series of performances which included dances, musical theater, fashion shows and exhibitions.
After sampling a food truck at the fortnightly Kuala Lumpur Food Truck Feast, I rushed to the middle of Dataran Merdeka to witness the main event. The show began with an introduction of all the states and federal territories of Malaysia. As each destination was called out, traditional dancers hailing from the respective locality performed while a large, suspended LCD screen displayed the various tourist attractions. My favorite portion of the show was when the stage transitioned to a traditional kampung (village) set. Large replicas of traditional Malay houses were pushed up onto the main stage on side ramps by the performers. A couple of village performers were waving traditional kites at the end of a pole to simulate kite-flying. The nature-themed performance with dancers wearing LED-lit costumes inspired by Selangor’s fireflies was also eye-catching. For the “Future” segment, there were dancers leaping on the stage on their powerbockers (elastic-like spring-loaded stilts), which was also pretty cool! The festival show ended with a grand fireworks display will all the performers onstage – a finale that wowed the crowd.
While the production numbers were impressive, I think the festival would have been way better if it had retained the street parade format to keep the celebration more festive and allow the audience to feel or experience the festivities rather than to passively watch it from the seats. Or perhaps they could hold a street parade in the late afternoon or early evening, before the celebration culminates with a stage show, as with major festivals held in the Philippines.
This blog post was made possible through Eat Travel Write Kuala Lumpur, a media trip held last October 17, 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The event was organized by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and media coordinator, Gaya Travel Magazine.