Bangkok’s annual light and digital art festival “Awakening Bangkok 2022” returns for its 5th edition to the Charoenkrung-Talad Noi neighborhood, aims to promote nighttime economy, social and economic sustainability, and festival tourism

Held on the theme “Endless Tomorrow”, the lighting installation festival inspires and revives the economy in Charoenkrung-Talad Noi after sunset, attracting local and international tourists and creating a lively atmosphere during the festive season

Awakening Bangkok’s organizer Time Out Bangkok together with its partners the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), Creative Economy Agency (CEA), Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, Diageo Moet Hennessy (Thailand), and BGC Glass Studio have created the lighting installation festival Awakening Bangkok 2022 on the theme “Endless Tomorrow” to offers new perspectives to the historically charming Charoenkrung and Talad Noi area now that the COVID-19 pandemic has settled. The event aims at inspiring people about how to create a sustainable future for the present and next generations. 

Mr. Pongsiri Hetrakul, managing director of Time Out Bangkok and Festival Director of Awakening Bangkok, said: “This is the 5th year of the festival and, after being forced by the pandemic to postpone the 2021 festival to March 2022, we are delighted to be able to get back to our same schedule at year-end season. We’ve collaborated with our partners to deliver new and memorable experiences to everyone during the 10-day festival that runs from 16 to 25 December 2022. We’re ready to elevate Awakening Bangkok to a next level, by making it part of the international tourism calendar as well as a destination for tourists.

“The fact that we’ve been able to organize the event for five consecutive years says a lot about the success of Awakening Bangkok. This has proved that a collaboration between the government and private sector is ideal for when you’d push things forward for universal benefits, including the efforts to bring out the national creative force and promote night-time economy, which are the keys that will secure Charoenkrung’s brighter future. We have received good feedback from artists, designers and visitors who attended the past events. The festival helps to bond and enliven the community, inspire creative forces, and helps take Bangkok to a global festival tourism calendar.”

The continuous collaboration with TAT, TCEB, CEA and the BMA reflects the collective goal to make Awakening Bangkok one of the main festivals on Thailand’s and regional tourism calendar. The festival is currently recognized as one of the “Colorful Bangkok” events, BMA’s three-month campaign that aims to revitalize the city through multi-disciplinary cultural events between November 2022 and January 2023. The plan is to make Bangkok a cultural metropolis and a major festival tourism destination that will help sustain the city’s social and economic development.

Mr. Sanon Wangsrangboon, Deputy Governor of Bangkok, said that the year-end festivals are all about lighting, music and art. These festivals, which were and will be held in various places across the city, offer people the chance to end the year with memorable moments and welcome the New Year in high spirit. To catch up with the festive spirits and to align with Governor Chadchart Sittipunt’s year-round city festivals, BMA, in partnership with various stakeholders, has initiated “Colorful Bangkok” festive campaign, which spans 3 months from November 2022 to January 2023, and is divided into 3 themes: Creative Arts Festivals in November, Light Festivals in December and Music Festivals in January, for residents and tourists alike to enjoy. These events will help boost the local economy and public spending.

“Awakening Bangkok is recognized as one of the “The Festival of Lights” events in the BMA’s “Colorful Bangkok 2022” calendar. It symbolizes the opening of a space and illuminating the city and bringing it back to life,” Mr. Sanon ended.

Kittipong Prapattong, Executive Director Central Region of Tourism Authority of Thaiand (TAT), added: “The trend of foreign tourists traveling to Thailand is on a steady rise now that the COVID situation has eased. This is particularly evident during the year-end celebrations as holidaymakers around the world are looking for destinations where they can enjoy the long weekend. The government’s policy to open the country for tourists and the cooperation with the private sector in organizing festivals at various destinations across the country help attract tourists, making Thailand one of the world’s top destinations.

 “Awakening Bangkok 2022 is a collaboration between the public and private sectors to create one of the greatest events of the year. Besides being spectacular, it also celebrates the opening of the country and the year-end tourism season excites both locals and visitors. We believe that such a “colorful” event will invigorate the tourism trend now that the pandemic has been largely resolved,” Mr. Kuttipong added.

Mrs. Nichapa Yoswee, Senior Vice President – Business, of Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), said: “TCEB sees the opportunity to develop the city and community with what is called “Festival Economy” as a way to promote a city’s sustainable development. The tourism trends and behaviors among the younger generation have changed to those of more choice and experience-driven, and festival creators will need to response to these changes. These groups of travelers have high purchasing power, so the travel volume of such groups will have  both direct and positive impacts and indirectly link to the economy of the host city and its surrounding communities.

At the heart of Awakening Bangkok is the promotion of all aspects of sustainability, a common goal of all partners including the main sponsor “Johnnie Walker” that has supported the event for three consecutive years.

Ms. Jarinee Wongkhamthong, Diageo Moet Hennessy (Thailand) Co.’s marketing director, said: “The collaboration of all sectors, public and private, is required if we are to co-create a sustainable economic value. Johnnie Walker sees the importance of supporting Thai artists and designers who are capable of extending their creative work and creating added values. This is in line with Diageo’s long-term sustainability goal SOCIETY2030: SPIRIT OF PROGRESS through which we strive to be one of the best-performing and most trusted consumer companies, and the brand’s KEEP WALKING philosophy that inspires and creates new experiences that keep people moving forward.

“This year, Johnnie Walker returns under the concept. “No matter what, just move on and live your life”, which underlines two main issues to the new generation, diversity acceptance and creating sustainability in all dimensions. This message is reflected through various works exhibited at the event and the two bars, which have been designed in collaboration with famous artists. In addition, this concept is conveyed through new flavors of four special drink recipes inspired by nature, created in collaboration with WASTELAND, a drinking community of environmentalists. And most importantly, we continue to support responsible drinking by reinforcing messages and activities included in the work.”

Mr. Pongsiri concluded that: “Aimed at promoting the city’s identity, each year Awakening Bangkok creates an event that specifically reflects each idea while also drawing inspiration from the rich history. The event signals the possibility of new ideas and creation through the opening of the space and the collaboration of the people.

 “Awakening Bangkok 2022 takes place at a time when we are still searching for answers, when we are still exploring life’s many possibilities. We wish for conversations – and inspiration – on how to create a better tomorrow…one that will last forever. A tomorrow that is endless. The event reflects such a concept through the participation of new generation artists such as COTH, 27 June, and Alt+r .

“This year is special as we’ve created 2 routes for 2 sub-themes. The southern Bangrak route focuses on “Sustainability” and the northern Talad Noi route on “Living Evidence” through new locations. Each route has its highlights. For example, the southern route’s highlighted works are at the Swan hotel, Marine Police Lodge and East-Asiatic Building, the latter of which is a century-old Venetian-style structure that used to house the multinational trading company of the same name.  The northern route’s highlights include the Patina Bangkok, houses on the river bank and Phanu Rangsri Pier.” 

In addition to light installations by amazing local artists, visitors can expect to see an international showcase for the first time, curated by a team from iLight Singapore, a similar light and digital arts festival in Singapore. The work is on display at Warehouse 30. 

“This year, we have expanded our alliance to include the Hong Kong Economics and Trade office and Central Embassy and for the first time we have formed a partnership with favourite social media platform TikTok that has a goal of supporting Thai artists on its platform. There will be Tik Tok creators creating content at the event. Over the past years, Awakening Bangkok has been promoted via the English, Chinese and Japanese media to connect to the world. We believe that after the pandemic, Awakening Bangkok will be a top world destination for new experiences and cultural tourism. “

He added that: “Apart from promoting culture, Awakening Bangkok also plays a part in creating economic value. Awakening Bangkok  2021 held in March 2022 attracted more than 90,000 visitors over the 10 days despite being held while COVID-19 was still spreading, The event created an economic impact worth 115.64 million baht. We hope that this time around the festival will be even more welcome.

“We Believe that Awakening Bangkok will be a festival that helps boost the excitement of the city during this festive time of the year, especially among foreign tourists.  A report by UNESCO clearly indicates the global growth of cultural tourists which is driven by the changing behavior of tourists. They want to learn more about the traditions of the local community, discover and visit historical sites and experience different cultures as well as learning and immersing themselves in cultural products and services in each locality,” Mr. Pongsiri said.

The 5th edition of Awakening Bangkok sees almost 40 lighting installations illuminating more than 20 locations, most of which are long-forgotten structures, in Charoenkrung-Talad Noi neighborhoods, from 16-25 December 2022.