Kuching a musical hub as prelude to RWMF


NEW TWIST: Abang Johari signing the 15th edition of the Rainforest World Music Festival plaque in a symbolic launch of the festival.

KUCHING: Kuching city will be transformed into a musical hub next month in the run-up to the globally acclaimed Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) which will be held at the Sarawak Cultural Village from July 13 to 15.

Minister of Tourism Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the 15th edition of the RWMF would be given a new twist with the involvement of local talents showing their stuff prior to the actual event itself.

“Local talents involved in music, such as from Sekolah Seni, SK Green Road and Saberkas, will be given a chance to perform at the Sarawak Tourism Complex, Sarawak Museum garden, and at the Kuching Waterfront alongside some international acts,” said Abang Johari at the launch of RWMF 2012 at Bangunan Baitulmakmur yesterday.

He said the key idea was to get both tourists and locals alike all excited about the grand event (RWMF) in July.

“Kuching will be a hub for music festivals as music transcends all sensitivities because of its global nature,” said Abang Johari, adding that Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) and schools have been instructed to participate in the built-up mini-concerts, especially on weekends.

He added that since RWMF is listed as among the top 25 Best International Festivals for the third year running by Songlines – a renowned world music magazine – the festival would now act as a splendid platform for local talents to gain exposure and deepen their knowledge about music.

Abang Johari said the state was not short of local talents. For instance, Zee Avi had made it to the international stage, while crooner Hafiz became the nation’s champion in the recent Juara Lagu.

“I am pleased that Zee will be performing on the first day of the RWMF. I believe such festivals can unearth more unpolished talents from the state to make it big.”

On the RWMF, he said he expected about 30,000 revellers throughout the three days.

“The spin-off from the festival could reach RM37 million from the sale of souvenirs, restaurants, hotels and transportation.”

Meanwhile, STB announced that tickets for the festival are priced at RM110 for adults and RM55 for children below the age of 12 for a one-day pass. For the three-day pass, it will be RM300 and RM150 respectively.

Discount of up to 50 per cent for the daily passes are also available online until April 30.

Among the bands and performers who have confirmed their participation are Danyel Waro from Reunion Island, Oreka TX (a basque band from Spain), Khusugtun (from Mongolia), Cankisou, String Sisters, Le Trio Joubran, Raiz de Cafezal, and Mamadou Diabate.

The international acts will also be performing alongside local talents such as Samuel Dass and Prakash, Diplomats of Drum, and Rhythm of Borneo from Sarawak.

On the sidelines of the festival would be the RWMF Food Mart and Village Mart selling a wide variety of local, fusion and international food and beverages. There would also be stalls selling festival memorabilia and performers’ CDs.

It is organised by STB and managed by their subsidiary STB Leisure and Properties. This year, STB is collaborating with the private sector to design attractive packages to pull in visitors from as far as Australia and the United Kingdom.

The move will enable visitors to not only attend the festival but also visit places of interest in Sarawak. More details about the festival, visit http://www.rainforestmusic-borneo.com.