A Guide to Rainforest World Music Festival
- SWATHI RAMASWAMY
- UPDATED Sep 21, 2018
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The Rainforest World Music Festival is a three-day event in that is celebrated every year in Sarawak, Borneo. It showcases performances of the bands from literally all over the world, is something truly magical. From African dance to local native chants, this festival is a perfect blend of culture that promotes dancing in rhythm along with more than 20,000 people across the globe. This festival had its beginning in the year 1997. It has also been voted of one of the top 25 festivals based on music in the world by Songlines. Unlike other musical festivals, where musicians in the backstage after their performance, this festival is more likely to see your favorite starts walking around, participation in the intimate jam sessions during the period of workshops, which is held daily during this time or just enjoying the show with their fans.
1. Origin: Rainforest World Music Festival History
In the year 1997, Randy Raine Reusch, a Canadian musicologist visited Robert Basiuk, the deputy chief officer of the former Sarawak Tourism Board. Randy, who was into the ethnic music, was very interested in the sape, an instrument that the Kayan and Kenyah people of Sarawak used to play. There were meetings held, where they discussed the possibilities of Sarawak to have an annual music festival along the line with other festivals in the world. For testing this idea, a group was formed consisting of local musicians for taking the music to the international level, which marked the very inception of this festival now recognized by the entire world.
2. Rainforest World Music Festival: How is it celebrated
The festival is celebrated in the grounds of the Sarawak Cultural Village located near the base of Mount Santubong which is about 35 kms north of Kuching. The festival also runs small concerts in the afternoon which is again followed by evening performances. The festival features more than 18 bands through the weekend. The atmosphere is very soothing and relaxed. This festival although has timetables for every performance but there is no compulsion on visitors for entering and leaving the event on time. Workshops that are held inside various traditional houses in the village give both performers and audience the chance to come on the same floor, communicate and converse.
3. Rainforest Music Festival 2018: Special Events
Special events of this festival include workshops, jamming sessions, dancing, live acts and many more. Celebrated in the island’s Sarawak Cultural Village covered with lush greeneries the site of the festival is described as a living museum. As the dusk arrives, it not only brings the fireflies, beautiful birdsong, bats but also the main stage events with leading artists of the world music. The beautiful setting of the festival infuses an enthusiasm for sharing their creations with others in the world. The entire ambience creates a big choral cacophony capturing nature’s sounds and musical traditions of the world.
5. Rainforest Music Festival: Interesting facts
The festival brings together world’s renowned musicians.
The city of Kuching in Sarawak Borneo will soon be resonating with the entrancing sounds of the sape in August. The festival is renowned for the sape or the boat-shaped flute, which is inherently associated with the festival or to put it in a better way, it is the symbol of the festival. Exotic music from all over the world is presented here. The festival witnesses the harmony of a thousand musical tunes. Every year, thousands of music lovers from all over the world pay their pilgrimage to Sarawak situated on the island of Borneo. The home of this event is in Santubong which is a 45-minute drive from Kuching, the capital city of Sarawak. Located in the Mount Santubong, at the middle of a rainforest close to the South China Sea, this unique festival brings together all the renowned world musicians from all over the globe on the same stage.
The enchanting music played in the midst of lush greeneries is something magical
The friendship and enthusiasm among music makers and lovers is something that echoes throughout this place while they celebrate one another in the lap of mother nature is something very unique to the green haven which is reigned by thousand years old trees. The spirit of this annual communion is as vibrant as the diverse and intricate ecosystem. For the festival goers wishing to interact with the musicians and experience the dance and music of various different cultures up close, the workshop continues at the same time daily during this festival. In the night, five-hour concerts take place on a main ‘jungle stage’ and smaller “tree Stage” that continue till past midnight. During night time, the concerts are held on a stage that is located near the lake, under the open sky where the ambience is an informal one. While sitting on the grass lawn and witnessing the entrancing world beats, the visitors can enjoy some of the most cherished moments of their lives.
This festival has an egalitarian approach
The festival, culminating in a huge finale on its final night, invites all the performers for playing on stage as one. Sarawak, known for its history, mystery, exotic adventures, and romance, is the land of the fabled white rajahs, the orangutans and the hornbills. The rainforest houses of this place with the world’s richest and the most diverse ecosystem attracts many visitors. And during the Rainforest Music Festival, this place gets adorned with a smorgasbord of delectable delights at the food and village mart. Music being an art form, brings with it culture, creativity, diversity, talent and spellbinding performances. In this festival people regardless of their cultural backgrounds, ethnicity and music interests come together for three magical days in order to have a fun filled, wholesome festive experience with a beautiful atmosphere amidst lush greens.
This three days musical orgy of folk and ethnic acts from all around the world at the Rainforest World Music Festival is organized annually by the Sarawak Tourism Board.
This festival taking place usually in the month of July or August at the Sarawak Cultural Village blows its visitors away by all the talented musicians. This festival unites an eclectic group of international folk and ethnic musicians for performing over 3 days and leading various workshops. A typical day at the festival starts at around 2 pm with different workshops and interactive activities and goes on until the late night that culminates with a live performance from each band on the main stage.