STB targets turning BWME into premier event in Asia


KUCHING: Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) has set its sight on turning the just concluded Borneo World Music Expo (BWME) into a premier event in Asia within the next five years.

Its chief executive officer Datuk Rashid Khan said the board was mulling on organising the expo as an annual event — entering onto the World music exposition — considering the tremendous opportunities to brand the world music festival due to the vast ethnicity in the state.

Rashid said the inaugural expo was already planned as part of the strategy to climb the value-chain for the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) which caters to the leisure market segment.

Improving the value chain would see both events evolved into stronger business tourism products which will create vast economic opportunities.

“We are not looking at this expo as a local event, but it should be seen as a platform for musicians and festivals from throughout Asia to come to the state. I am happy that this inaugural event managed to attract many music festival programmers from throughout the world,” he told a press conference on the last day of the expo at Pullman Hotel here yesterday.

BWME director and consultant Gerald Seligman was also present.

Throughout the three-day programme (June 24-26), he mentioned that panellists and speakers have been very generous in sharing their experiences about organising festivals, talent management, subject of copyrights and other behind-the-scenes know-how to run a music festival.

The expo had attracted 71 programmers and 186 delegates from throughout the world.

Five conference papers were delivered during the expo.

Rashid also suggested for the academic fraternity to be involved in the event.

Students could be involved in mentor programmes to learn about festival organising, performing and event programmers among others.

Apart from promoting the various ethnic groups here, he pointed out that the aspiration of this expo provides an economic impact and opportunities for the younger generation to be involved in the preservation of culture, to become musicians and professionals in the world music industry.

“When we talk about this programme, the value-chain is tremendous and we are exposing this to the younger rural generation to upgrade rural poverty programmes. This is through the adoption of becoming more professional in the presentation of their music, showmanship and audience rapport,” he explained.

To reach the international level, he advised musicians to be equipped to articulate and provide a high performance quality to attract worldwide bookings.

Seligman applauded the organising of the BWME as a way to improve the value-chain of cultural and world music here.

Such expo would help to support not only the promotion of local cultures but the artistes and small businesses as well, he said.

“BWME is trying to help to professionalise the sector. Touching on job creation, there is a need for a tremendous infrastructure of venues in the state, touring circuit, tour managers and others. The export potential of this industry is encouraging due to the availability of numerous cultures,” he said.

Seligman highlighted the need to build a foundation for the infrastructure, train expertise amongst the youths and find more musicians and turn them into professionals.

All these will help to strengthen the cultural music industry sector.

For the next edition of BWME, he highlighted plans to invite event managers and those from the hotel and entertainment industries to promote local artistes and enable them to get bookings worldwide.