The inaugural Live & Loud music festival, billed as one of Asia's biggest live-music events, kicks off here Nov. 23.

The 10-day festival is divided into three categories - "main," "thematic" and "fringe" events - offering more than 45 hours of live music.

Acts performing at the festival include Whitney Houston, James Ingram, Kool & the Gang, Rick Price, James Morrison, K-Ci & Jojo, Shaggy, James Taylor Quartet and Mint Condition.

The event's main venues are an open-air concert space Bukit Kiara Equestrian and Country Resort with a capacity of 20,000 and Stadium Negara, which can hold 12,000 people.

"We aim to turn Malaysia into a premier music hub in Southeast Asia," says Kevin Chua, chief executive of Kuala Lumpur-based concert promotion company Live and Loud, which is organizing the festival. "It's also a fabulous platform to showcase our local and regional artists."

Also appearing during the festival are local recording artists such as Noryn Aziz, Zainal Abidin, Hannah Tan and Dayang Nurfaizah.

The fringe events offer music fans an opportunity to explore the art and commerce of the music industry through seminars and workshops at various venues including Cineleisure, KL Sentral and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

"The magnitude of 'Live and Loud' puts it in a league of its own," says Reymee Mohamed Hussein, Live & Loud's chief festival director. "Fans will get their money's worth as each artist will do a full show."

A workforce of 150 people, including the British production teams behind the "Live Earth" concerts in New York and Hamburg, are involved in constructing the massive stage complete with state-of-the-art sound and lighting equipment.

Ticket prices for the various events range from $30 to $150.

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