Borneo Jazz Fest draws international crowd

O Sister! from Spain among those performing at the preview show at Ming Café on Wednesday night.

O Sister! from Spain among those performing at the preview show at Ming Café on Wednesday night.

MIRI: The Borneo Jazz Festival, which entered its eleventh year this year, has become an iconic and internationally recognized festival attracting many festival goers and tourists besides enhancing the sustainability of the local tourism industry.

Permanent Secretary to Ministry of Tourism Sarawak and chief executive officer of Sarawak Tourism Board Datu Ik Pahon Joyik said the niche event attracted around 4,000 audience members last year including expatriates working in the state and neighbouring countries.

Forty per cent of the festival goers were non-Malaysians.

“For many, this festival has become more than just a yearly weekend entertainment but our local business community has benefited with RM17 million being injected into the local economy and roughly RM10 million worth of international media value being added to Miri generating interest in the destination,” he said at the welcoming sunset dinner for media representatives, performers, sponsors and organising committee members hosted by Miri Marriott Resort & Spa.

Also present were Miri Resident Antonio Kahti Galis, Miri Marriott Resort and Spa’s Cluster general manager Marc Cosyns, Parkcity Everly Hotel Miri general manager Andrew Law, Malaysia Airlines chief commercial officer Paul Simmons and Sarawak Tourism Board’s corporate communications director Angelina Patricia Bateman.

Ik Pahon pointed out that despite many setbacks and challenges, predominantly due to dynamics within the industry, the festival has prevailed and now reached its 11th edition.

“We’ve also managed to assemble a diverse set of artistes from around the globe, and this year’s festival is one of our most decorated yet, with multi-award winners and critically acclaimed musicians gracing our stage,” he said.

He thanked all those involved in ensuring the success of the festival, which he said created 11 years ago under the name ‘Miri International Jazz Festival’ was designed to support Miri’s status as a Resort City.

Indeed he said Miri has proven itself as a Resort City, and being a gateway to the state’s famed national parks, continued to attract tourists besides investors.

On other aspects of the festival, Ik Pahon said this year it featured a new corporate social responsibility programme, the “Outreach Programme” wherein local musicians could learn how to play Jazz instruments from a qualified music lecturer.

The festival also continued its efforts in the greening of Miri City, with the tree planting at the Piasau Nature Reserve on Thursday as well as making it mandatory for the festival vendors to use recyclable plates and cutlery while selling their dishes.

Meanwhile, 46 people benefitted from the workshop yesterday, conducted by Associate Professor Razif Mohd @ Jeep, a graduate of the Conservertoire de Region de Rueil-Malmaison and Centre d’Information Musicale de Paris, France.

He lectures in general musicianship, improvisation techniques, contemporary ensembles and short courses programme-continuous education for community at the School of Arts, Universiti Sains Malaysia

Meanwhile, tickets are still available for tonight’s show, at the entrance of the festival venue at RM100 for a single entrance and a family package of two adults and two children at RM200 available from 4pm onward.

The performance tonight at ParkCity Everly Hotel Miri will start at 6.45pm with the USM Mini Big Band (Malaysia) to be followed by Raw Earth from Singapore, Funkatorie from Malaysia, Klazz Brothers and Cuba Percussion from Germany/Cuba and the Rad Trads from New York, USA. As usual there is a Borneo Jazz Jamming session until 2pm at Ruai Bar of the hotel.

Simmons (left) presenting a memento to Cosyns.

Simmons (left) presenting a memento to Cosyns.

Performers and media enjoying local food.

Performers and media enjoying local food.

Solomon Ngau performing at the welcoming dinner.

Solomon Ngau performing at the welcoming dinner.

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