Rainforest can do with bigger space
by Karen Bong. Posted on August 5, 2012, Sunday
SOMETIMES, it’s great to enjoy music outdoors — allowing tired bones to rest on the green lawn where the air is fresh and the breeze is cool.
And best of all, let the mesmeric ambience take over as the amplified sound of music echoes through the jungle, affording a welcome chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and the monotony at the office.
Against the backdrop of the legendary Mt Santubong and the pulsating tempo of world music, the recent three-day Rainforest World Music Festival (Rainforest) drew tens of thousands of fans and revellers looking for a unique musical encounter at the Cultural Village.
Was it the music, the beer or the party? Whichever, it was one of the best times of the year to witness unity fostered through music, arts and cultures.
Voted as one of the top 25 international festivals by renowned world music magazine Songlines for three years running since 2009, this annual outdoor musical event celebrated its 15th anniversary this year.
And if the organsiers — the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) – were smiling broadly, it was hardly surprising. Over the three days, they were able to lure a total of 22,290 arrivals compared to last year’s 21,000 and 20,000 in 2010.
Asked for his comment, an elated STB chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Rashid Khan said “it was another successful year”.
The first day started leisurely with people, especially locals, arriving rather late in the evening as it was a working day. Most were casually dressed albeit with plenty of inked body parts on display.
Security was tight with a big team of personnel manning the entrance, scanning everyone and checking bags. Security officers were spotted with K9 sitting on the hill around the venue, keeping an eye out for bad behaviour.
STB also made a strong appearance at the Rainforest with a booth at the main entrance, usually taken up by the telecos.
At the booth, information about Borneo where adventure lives was promoted, offering tourists various exciting destinations for after-festival tours.
This was part of STB’s plans to entice tourists to stay longer and enjoy the uniqueness of Borneo.
Room for improvement
Such a big festival inadvertently lends itself to rowdy behaviour but on the whole, everything was under control at Rainforest 2012.
There were minor incidents. In one, a person fell to the ground from Dewan Lagenda and paramedics were seen rushing to the site with a stretcher while in another, a woman accidentally slipped and bruised her knee.
Many who decided to beat the traffic jam by leaving early were instead stuck in an hour-long gridlock at the entrance of One Hotel Santubong.
Cars lined both sides of the hotel’s driveway, and the bumper-to-bumper crawl on the road stretched to about three kilometres. What is normally a two-way carriage became a narrow path — passable only to traffic moving in one direction at a time.
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