This trend needs to be reversed, but due to a lack of multinational companies willing to sponsors or promote the arts, it seems this year’s ongoing youth performing arts festival will be left without any sponsors at all. The people in entertainment business believe that multinational companies are fair weather fans, who are only willing to sponsor events to promote culture when the industry is booming. But when the entertainment business needs some support, multinational companies and other sponsors have found other ‘areas of interest’.
The ongoing 9th Youth Performing Arts Festival is the first activity being organised since 2008 by Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop (RPTW) at the Cultural Complex, when cracker bombs went off at the World Performing Arts Festival. The festival is attracting a reasonably large audience but it is much smaller than previous festivals. Organisers claim that they focused on taking this initiative to go ahead with the festival to break the inertia in the arts.
RPTW Creative Director Faizan Peerzada said, “The sponsorship of the youth festival reached around Rs20 million in 2006, 2007. This year we don’t have any sponsors.” Peerzada said that the organisation had their own equipment and paraphernalia otherwise nobody could afford to organise the festival on this scale.
“Multinationals have shifted their focus and culture isn’t given priority. We are organising this festival as preparation for the Sufi Festival. This festival is free for attendees but costs a lot of money to arrange,” he said.
“Even the lighting and decoration that we do for this festival is not affordable if we take equipment on rent. With this paraphernalia I can decorate marriage functions more artistically than anyone else but we are not event managers,” he said. Peerzada said that artists from abroad were already not willing to come and perform in Pakistan and the lack of money and sponsors added to their woes.
“The government should have thought about these bad days and spared some funds to heal culture wounds. Right now, all they provide us with is security and a premise, which too is something considering how bleak the country’s situation actually is,” said Peerzada.