KUCHING: The 21st edition of the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) has surpassed its attendance target of 20,000.
The three-day event, which concluded on July 15 this year, hosted a total of 21,668 visitors.
The Saturday night programme (July 14) was considered a resounding success, in which the venue Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV) gathered around 9,000 spectators.
“It is always encouraging to have reached our target; in this case, we surpassed it. It’s an even greater joy when you see a satisfied audience, as they explore our culture and make the most out of one of Sarawak’s most iconic events,” added Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) director of events for RWMF 2018, Angelina Bateman.
The expansion of the festival to include sub-events like pop-up shows, mini-sessions, as well as wellness and lifestyle activities was regarded as the likeliest contributing factor to the encouraging increase in attendance this year.
The expansion led to the setting up of the ‘Big Tent Stage’ on Damai Central, which is just a stone-throw’s away from SCV.
It provided opportunities for young, aspiring Sarawakian artistes to take Sarawak’s traditional instruments and bring them into the limelight.
This year’s festival also featured more in-depth activities centred around the ‘sape’ – or the Bornean lute – including multiple classes open to the public and a ‘Sampeh Stories’ segment on the history of this sacred musical instrument, facilitated by Warisan Sape Telang Usan.
Cultural snippets and film screenings were also held, where festival-goers could learn about the intricacies and history behind local indigenous religions and customs, or watch award-winning films intent on preserving the culture of people around the world.
RWMF 2018’s musical showcase comprised a stellar line-up of entertainers including local bands Sada Borneo and At Adau, as well as SwarAsia Malaysia representing Malaysia.
The international performers’ list consisted of Grace Nono from the Philippines, Oyme from the Republic of Mordovia (Russia), Elisouma (Comoros Islands), Dona Onete (Brazil), Slobodan Trkulja and Balkanopolis (Serbia), Bhungar Khan Company and Raghu Dixit Project (India), Niteworks (Isle of Skye), Kevin Locke (US), Combo Ginebra (Chile), Alberto Marin (Spain), Gayogayo (Indonesia), Shanren (China), Djeli Moussa Conde (Guinea), Naedrum (Korea), Warato’o (Solomon Islands), Yallah Bye (Tunisia) and Volosi (Poland).
For the 22nd edition, RWMF will run from July 12 to 14 next year at the SCV.
STB is the organiser of the event, which is endorsed by Tourism Malaysia and jointly supported by the federal Ministry of Tourism and Culture and Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports of Sarawak – with AirAsia as the airline partner.