I have not known about Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) until one of my blogger fellows offered an opportunity to be invited to the event. I could say I am not a musical person, though I was curious to see how a 3d2n-world-music-festival is going on.
I applied then selected to have free access to #RWMF2018 in Sarawak, Malaysia. Instantly, I searched about it.
As I said, I am not a musical one. Getting to know the city was more excited than getting to know the artists. I have not been in Sarawak, then I traveled to explore the city as well, especially Kuching.
Long story short, I went to the festival with less knowledge about the performers. What I was waiting for only yoga sessions which unfortunately I missed them altogether.
RWMF is one of the best. It has been held since 1998. Here the tips if you will be coming next year as a first timer.
1. Reserve a place as soon as possible
RWMF is located at the foot of Mount Santubong, called Kampung Budaya Sarawak (Sarawak Cultural Village), next to Damai Central. It’s about 35 km or about 45 minutes from Kuching City.
There are no budget hotels nearby. Though it provides camping site for budget travelers, but you have to book it as soon as possible. If you stay in the city of Kuching, still you have to reserve the affordable accommodation immediately before it sold out. I was lucky still got one at the time.
When you stay in the city, make sure your place is just walking distance from shuttle bus stop. This bus is free if you have a ticket to RWMF. The bus operates from morning to mid night, then you can estimate when you go and leave.
2. Finding out about the performers
Lack of knowledge of the festival made me little bit disoriented when I arrived on Damai. I didn’t know where to go and just followed the noise on my ears. I had no idea who or what I would see.
I saw a circle of people playing drums and tambourines. There was MC in the middle. They were entertaining, funny, and energetic. I loved them right away. They involved the audience to play and make melodies. I took a part by holding tambourine.
Then I knew they were 1Drum.org from Malaysia, and I watch them three days in a row.
However, it’s better to know prior about the performers and check their show time. You can anticipate to watch them from the beginning. If you don’t like it, just leave it.
Seeing their skill and reaction of their fans, I believed all of the artists were famous in their countries. Even though they were not familiar for me, I adored them and danced a lot.
I expected to see a kind of music festival which full of singers, bands, stages, and electronics. Surprisingly, I found beyond. That traditional instruments from local community all around the world were able to produce beautiful melodies, even as fun as modern ones, really surprised me. Obviously, this festival is worth seeing.
3. Get the Festival Guide
Once you arrive, first thing to do is asking the Festival Guide at the Entrance. Kampung Budaya Sarawak is like a village. It contains of traditional houses of Sarawak’s tribes surrounded by pristine nature of Sarawak’s rainforest. The sessions took place among them.
There are many programs, such as workshop, games, and concert, both for adult and children. Yes, it is child-friendly. They spread on different places and different timetable. Some of them even played at the same time. You have to mark which you want to see and find it by yourself.
You should know where and when the sessions you want to see. Even though there are signages, it can be wasting time to get the venue, let alone if you are distracted to other things around.
4. Nobody judge you
No matter where you from and what you wear, you are free to enjoy the festival. Visit all sessions you like, try everything you like, but don’t forget to have fun! Also, bear in mind that there are many photographers who might take your candid photo.
- If you play something unique, you may show it off here, and have small spontaneous collaboration with the artists.
- For my moslem friends, I saw prayer room (surau) at Damai Central. Otherwise, you can find some corners to pray.
5. Be Social
The artists are from different countries, as well as the visitors. Thus you will meet international people, including outside the venue.
I met a girl from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at my hostel in Kuching. She came for RWMF. Then I knew all girls in my dorm were coming for the festival. If you mind to ask, you can see a tag on their hand.
Believe me, it’s more fun to even have small interaction with people next to you.
6. Take a break
There is bazaar selling crafts, souvenirs, arts, food, drinks, games, etc. You can take times to walk around and learn about Sarawak’s culture at a glance through looking closely the houses. If you’re tired, you can sit down by the lake in the middle of village.
I believe you don’t need to see all performances. There is a break between them to see or do anything else.
7. Find another beauty
The venue is just a minute away from Damai Beach. Before having dinner, it is good to spend your time witnessing the sun setting down.
If it’s not raining, color of the sky was so magical. You may also put on your bikini to soak up in the sea while watching it.
Aforementioned, you can look the tip of Mount Santubong from the venue. If you are adventurous enough, you can extend for one day to hike up the mountain. Yet, you have to register in advance. I knew about this from my new Malaysian friend.
What do you think? Are you interested to be part of the festivities?
Please save the date. It’s July 12 – 14, 2019. Again, it’s July 12 – 14, 2019.