The Rainforest World Music Festival is a three day song and dance extravaganza that takes place annually. It celebrates the talents of world music and expresses how globally diverse the industry is. The festival is held on the grounds of a very popular place named Sarawak Cultural Village which is almost an hour outside of Kuching. It’s actually one of the biggest musical events in Malaysia that treats festival goers with a range of daytime workshops, a slice of Sarawak’s history, delicious food stalls and of the course epic evening concerts! I’ve been to many music festivals back home in London, however none of them have been nestled next to a Rainforest and host gorgeous beach dinners such as this one!
Before I begin a special thanks to Limkokwing University for giving me the chance to attend and capture this event.
Walking along the main bazaar you can find a sorts of interesting trinkets from traditional headgear to wood carvings. Even walking through the shops was a touching experience for me as due to modernization fewer of the younger generation are interested to actually learn the beauties of the handicraft industry and it’s sad to see it fighting to survive extinction as I’ve never seen such detailed skills anywhere else in the world.
The rain forest‘s and rivers were filled with life, the tour guide even informed us that we may be able to spot an orang-utan, elephant, wild boar, snake, leopard or even a monkey if we looked hard enough.
To kickstart the festival myself and many others attended a very special tree planting ceremony where we all planted around 300 native Borneo seedlings into Kuching Wetlands National Park.
It was an experience to remember especially as the guides pointed out a crocodile nearby just as I was foot deep in sticky mud, making myself in an impossible position to make a quick getaway escape!
One of the first workshops we attended was a Drum Circle, and although the festival has been around for many years it was the first time that this workshop was taking place so no one knew what to expect.
As I took a seat in the circle I could see around 100 different instruments surrounding me and happy faces looking hopeful and excited to get started. You could see the joy and sparkle in everyone’s eyes as they played their instruments, I looked around and noticed the children, teenagers and adults from all over the world all in one place. I think that music purely eliminates the language barriers you could have with anybody, we didn’t need to speak in order to smile at each other, we didn’t need to know them personally in order to laugh. We just played and let the music do all the talking for us.
All of the workshops that I took part in were held in stunning traditional houses inside the village such as the Iban longhouse, the Malay house and the Lagenda Hall. It’s one thing seeing the beauty of the building from the outside, but as soon as you enter the fine details unwind further and take you back in time.
There’s a saying ‘we never noticed the beauty as we were too busy trying to create it’ and being in Kuching, surrounded by all of this untouched nature makes you appreciate why we are really in this world. To live, laugh and love.
As you walk away from the festives, it’s almost like you can hear the birds tweeting to the beat of the music and the wind blowing all of the rainforest‘s freshness into your soul.
Looking around everything seems so natural and pure, carvings and equipment made out of wood, boats made from bamboo and people making clothes from scratch. Nowadays in Britain we just rely on a machine to build what we need, forgetting the vital life skills that once ruled over anything.
The local people are ever so friendly always willing to educate you on what they’ve made and the story behind making it. This is the great thing about this Music Festival, instead of just buying some soap from the supermarket you can come here and learn about how they made it, the ingredients, how long it took and even the history of their family business. When ever I use the soap now I smile as the memory is replayed, I’ll be devastated once it’s finished!
It had been a long day, but I couldn’t sit still when I was waiting for my tattoo to be completed as even for the five minutes that i was sitting down my nose drifted off to the heavenly smells coming from the food stalls behind me. My eyes wondered off to the colourful traditional costumes walking my way and my ears were exploring all of the crazily cool sounds coming from the distance. I thought that I’d seen, tasted and heard the best of the festival but I was clearly wrong!
The Rainforest World Music Festival really does serve as a gateway to open your mind to new music, new styles of dance, new interests and of course new friends. This event enables us to unite as one for three days, forgetting the developed world as it is today and forming a strong love for the one that our ancestors had the joy of experiencing.
Visit rwmf.net for more info, see you there next time!