3,000 attend highland folk music and culture fest


MIRI: Long Bedian was humming with lively activities last weekend as over 3,000 visitors from various longhouses and ethnic groups flocked there for the 3rd Highland Folk Music and Dance Festival from Dec 9-11.

All nine Orang Ulu ethnic groups under the Federation of Orang Ulu Malaysia (Forum) took part in various dance and folk music performances which were held over two nights.

Meanwhile, various traditional games were held during the daytime which many visitors also participated in. Apart from the performances, many stalls were also set up by Penans from nearby longhouses who brought handicrafts such as mats, baskets, bags and purses made from rattan to sell to visitors.

Over 10 government agencies including the Fire and Rescue Department, army personnel from the 9th Infantry Brigade, Welfare Department and Agriculture Department were also present to give talks and cultivate public awareness on various subjects for the communities there.  The army provided dental and health check services which over 100 people went for during the festival.

This year’s festival was also held to commemorate the first anniversary of Telang Usan’s elevation into a district and of Long Bedian into a sub-district.

The festival’s organising chairman who is also Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau said the annual festival was held as part of their efforts to boost the local tourism industry through showcasing the various ethnic groups’ cultures and traditions through singing and dancing.

State Legislative Assembly (DUN) deputy speaker who is also Mulu assemblyman Datuk Gerawat Gala was present to officiate at the festival.