Sunday, July 22, 2012

Rainforest World Music Festival 2012 - DONE IT!

After years of wishful thinking, I finally made it to one of the world's famous musical event, the Rainforest World Music Festival at Kuching, Sarawak.

Did it live up to its hype?

Oh hell yeah.

I instantly regretted not getting the 3-day pass.

I only went for the Saturday concert, paying RM90 for the ticket (got it from a friend's sister - who coincidentally sat next to me in the plane!).  As you can see, the original price is RM110.

While waiting for our flight to Kuching, we bumped into a few familiar faces from our hometown - also with the same mission.

Back at our hotel, there were more!  It's like I never left my hometown.

We stayed at Pullman, which was a really sweet hotel.

Which coincidentally was the perfect spot to hop the shuttle bus to the Sarawak Cultural Village (where the festival was held).

The Hills Shopping Mall was at the upper and lower ground of the hotel, and that was where the main pick up was.  It was awesome to know that we didn't have to walk a distance to catch the bus.

The bus fare by the way was RM15 for one way, and it departs hourly.

The journey takes about an hour by bus to the SCV.

As soon as we alight from the bus, instead of going to where the festival was, our attention was diverted to ANOTHER festival, a beach festival at Damai Beach Plaze (or that's how I recalled it), opposite of the SCV.

There was nothing much to see there so we headed to the Sarawak Cultural Village, just across the road, where the real party was at.

Once we're tagged, metal scans were waved at and our bags checked.  

We were then officially RWMF 2012 party goers.

Only after taking hundreds of photos of my RWMF tag, we bumped into the Chicken!

In the village, there were many booths set up which provided a plethora of services - food vendors, airbrush tattoo, awesome tribal design shaving service, manicures; and also selling a variety of stuffs - RWMF merchandise, souvenirs, accessories, bags, ukeleles (yes, ukeleles) and many more.

I, of course HAD to get the official RWMF 2012 tshirt.

As we wandered around the cultural village, something caught my eye.

Being the cheapskate that I am, I jumped on the opportunity.  Airbrushing is prettier, but it costs more.

That airbrushed goldfish which can last for only about 5 to 7 days costed RM30.

On the other hand, my awesome Sarawakian tribal henna design would last as long, at one third of the price.

But then again, I was wrong.

By dusk, the henna dried and flaked off, looking how it was supposed to look.

But it faded the next day and it looked like I scalded my arm, wtf.

After having an expensive lunch (the price is hiked 'coz you can't bring outside food), we killed time by attending the workshops.  More like surveying, and staying only if it's interesting enough.

The Talking Tablas workshop:

These are done by Malaysian Indians, so we scooted off to see something more foreign.

There was an angklung workshop at the theatre. 

 Though it was very Malaysian too, it was very interesting plus the air-conditioned hall was to die for.

And we got to play the angklung! The audience became the orchestra.  Radical.

The next workshop we went was the Congolese kwasa kwasa dance - a bootylicious dance where the audience were invited to dance along.

I didn't get to dance here 'coz the hall was jam packed with sweaty bodies, plus we couldn't see anything anyway from behind, so we decided to go back to the theatre to check out a workshop on an instrument I can't pronounce - String Txalarparta.  Bet you tried pronouncing it in your head as well and failed miserably.

It was just two Spanish dudes having a stick-banging duel.  Again, we appreciated the air-conditioning of the hall.

The concert started at 7.20 p.m., so we decided to go there early to secure a nice spot.  I've seen the photos and I can already imagine the crowd.

It was held at an open space at the edge of the cultural village.

Noon time
By the time we reached there, there were even more people who were earlier.

If you can get pass my badly lit face, you can see the area was filling up.
Then by nightfall...

Full fucking house!

The night was opened by a Malaysian performance called Gongs of Malaysia, which was basically your everyday traditional dance performance.

Then the magic of world music started when Khusugtun, a band of performers from Mongolia  took the stage.

Their music was enchanting and haunting at the same time, what with their traditional instruments and distinct style of throat singing.

Then there was Danyel Ward from Reunion Islands (a French island - yes, I helped you Wiki it), jamming some psychedelic tunes, the Malaysian Diplomats of Drum which was more banghra-ish, but the best performance that night was from Brazil, the Raiz De Cafezal.

The whole field started sambaing like mad!  Or trying to dance something samba-ish.  And I couldn't possibly miss out all the fun.  It was just too awesome.

It's like a huge outdoor party where all the cool people from all over the world gather.  There was even a 'mud party section' where hardcore party goers can get down and dirty.

The last performer of the night was from Czech Republic called Cankisou.  We didn't stay too long to watch it as we didn't really feel the music - plus we didn't want to risk taking the last bus at 1.30 p.m.

The number of people waiting for the bus was overwhelming.  If everyone lines up in just one line, the last person would have reached the moon, I swear.

We had to line up for a good 30 minutes, and the one hour journey back to Kuching took an extra half an hour due to the jam and blocking vehicles along the road.

But all in all, I SO WANNA GO AGAIN.

And this time, I'm taking the 3-day pass.

Here are some tips for you RWMF virgins who are jealous of me as we speak and plan to go next year:

1. Book your flight and hotel a year earlier.  I booked mine last December and I got awesome deals from Airasia and (hence the swanky hotel).

2. Get a 3 day pass!  It's expensive, but definitely worth it.  Check for online deals for cheaper price.

3. Get informed on how to take a bus there.  You can take a taxi, but it will cost a bomb.

4. Dress comfortably - think flip flops, shorts, tanks etc.  Leave your high heels at home.  And travel light when you're there.  The cultural village is a huge place, and you need to jump and dance during the concert.

5. You can't bring outside food, so do bring some cash to buy food - it will be slightly expensive too.  Plus you need to get some beer, no?

6. You might wanna just party at night, but do take the time to attend the workshops - you'll get first hand new musical knowledge, play a foreign instrument and learn a new dance.

7. Be prepared to get wet.  Get a poncho.  And if you're awesome enough, join the mud party.  I would've joined in the fun if my hotel was only 5 minutes away.

8. Bring your party peeps.  It will be much more fun when you're in a group.  Not saying that going with just a boyfriend/girlfriend is boring, but you get my drift.  You don't go clubbing with JUST your partner, do you?

9. It's called the Rainforest WORLD Music Festival.  So expect world music, not your every day mainstream chart toppers.  Open your mind and ears to music you never listened before -it's good for your soul.

10. Last but not least, don't just sit on your ass even though you have secured a good spot - make your way in the middle of the 10,000 crowd, and just fucking dance and party like a rockstar.

Here's to hoping I can go for RWMF 2013.  Carol and Joan, mari! :D


Joan said...

Mari!!! Lagi ramai lagi siok tu especially kalau sama kepala..hehe.

I got my tickets for RM60 saja tu..early bird kami pigi 2 days it was rm120 la. next year must go for 3 days. mari kita atur itu CRK awal2 :)

Amanda Christine Wong said...

Joan: YESSS! oh dang, I should've scouted for tickets, ramai2 la kita pigi. if ko nmpk tiket murah sdh, sound2 ah :D

Asrih Arif said...

am I the only one who thinks that your green nails are a bit freaky? hahahahha anyway I love traditional/cultural music... although those kind of music are not that familiar but it's very unique and worth listening..

Amanda Christine Wong said...

@Asrih: My mom's the first who thought it looked creepy :D. Yes, I'm sure you're going to enjoy it very much!

hojiayiing said...

Glad you enjoyed! Worked as the Heineken girl last year, free entry with good pay but didn't get to participate in those activities. Perhaps we'll bump into each other next year :)

Amanda Christine Wong said...

@Lucy: You did what?! woah! i wouldnt take u as one :D. but yeah, hopefully we'll bumped into each other someday :D

chegu carol said...

Buli bah! i also regret not going for the 3 days...and yeah, i think goin with people like you sure gonna be lotsa fun than last time i went. hahaha

Birthmark said...

Heard it was great! My bosses went! Argh!

By the way, you have a chipped turquoise. :P

Amanda Christine Wong said...

@Carol: Yes! Kita check2 for cheap flights la :D

@Birthmark: Hah! You shoulda tagged along. Yes, I'm aware of that :p

ngumbang said...

Would you like to do it again for year 2013? If you stick around longer you might be able to find the secret treasures in Sabah and Sarawak. Not only music.

Here is a website that seriously made me find that place.

Amanda Christine Wong said...

@Ngumbang: Ok, thanks for the recommendation!

Nazreen said...

Hi there Amanda!
This is a very well written and comprehensive post on Rainfest 2012. I’m glad that you enjoyed yourself. Let me skip to it: I represent an up-and-coming Kuching-based travel agency. Can I contact you by email to explain further?

Amanda Christine Wong said...

@Nazreen: Hi there. Thanks! Sure. Here's my email -

MASWings said...

Gearing up for the next RWMF in 2014? You can always take MASWings to go to Kuching!