Cover Story
Food for Thought
Evanna Ramly | 14 Aug 2017 16:27
The Cooler Lumpur festival brings artists from many different fields together.

Curated by digital media network PopDigital, the multidisciplinary Cooler Lumpur Festival that first began in 2013 was a fortunate turn of events.

“We didn’t originally set out to run a festival, but we were invited by the British Council to pitch to host the Edinburgh World Writer’s Conference and we beat other countries in this region to play host,” recalls Hardesh Singh, founder of PopDigital and executive creative director of the Cooler Lumpur Festival. “That is how the festival came about, and we just kept building it year on year.”

Now in its fifth year, Cooler Lumpur remains one of the very few creative festivals that do not receive any state support – which is by choice. “As such, the festival is run with a very disciplined cost management,” Hardesh reveals. “This also forces us to be innovative in how we get partners on board, and the mix we have is reflective of the values we create. The challenge is in building content partners and working with brands that understand how a festival can be a great content platform rather than just the usual sponsorship placements.”

“We enjoy our independence and would hate if we lost control over our content,” interjects Umapagan Ampikaipakan, literary director of the Cooler Lumpur Festival. “With that in mind, we’ve always found sponsors who share our mission and vision, and have worked closely with them to come up with ways to best give them value for the money they choose to invest in us.”

Hence the literary campaigns, social media competitions, and a wide range of content partnerships that benefit both brands. “These days, it isn’t enough to merely put someone’s name on a poster and ask them for money,” Umapagan smiles. “You need to get creative.”

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