Heineken partners Rainforest World Music Festival @ Sarawak Cultural Village

We don’t get a lot of big open-air festivals here in Malaysia, and the closest thing to a Woodstock festival would have to be the annual Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) in Sarawak. Musically, that ain’t the best comparison, but the energy of the people from all over the world does. Sometimes festivals aren’t about the line-up, but about the vibe and location. When you put a massive line-up of the some of the world’s most amazing world musicians at Sarawak Cultural Village stages, with people of all background, you can’t help but to feel the love.

I left Friday afternoon from LCCT via AirAsia and reached a rainy Kuching a few hours after. After years of rain at the festival dates, I wonder if they would ever move the dates, but hey, perhaps that’s what the ‘Rain’ in ‘Rainforest’ means: rain on day 1, clear on day 2 and then on the final 3rd day, it just wouldn’t go away. Fear not. We were equipped with a Heineken kit, which included mosquito repellent wristband, handheld electronic fan, raincoat, sanitiser and wet wipes!

So back to the festival … the music has definitely mellowed down for the night concerts. If you rewind back to a couple of years ago, there were acts that would create a large amount of buzz, but not this year. It used to be livelier. Could it be they are running out of acts? No way, right? Let’s hope for a stronger line-up next year. But hey, the workshops, which were held in the afternoon, are still the more fun side of things. As always, as you get up close with the musicians and learn about their music.

The newly-introduced Heinekabana was a brilliant plus point for Heineken members and media to meet and mingle, though it was far from the main stage, but it’s all good. How can you complain when you get finger food, Heineken beer and good company under one roof?

Speaking of food, why was Sushi King at RWMF? That was the strangest sighting, besides the Astro satellite dish at the Sarawak Cultural Village site. The festival already had Coffee Bean and pizzas on offer, but  Japanese food may just be pushing it. We’re at a festival that promotes culture, so shouldn’t we have more local food? Step it up guys. Besides that, there seemed to be a lack of food stalls this year.

Xpax was back as one of the sponsors for RWMF and it was the first thing that you saw after purchasing your ticket and security check. As a result, upon entering, you’d hear radio-friendly tunes blasting through the speakers as your first RWMF experience, which I find a big turn-off. As if the Xpax branding is not in your face enough at a world music festival…

Despite the lows, RWMF still got it. Saturday was a packed night, but the other 2 nights were slow to pick up this year. At least the after-parties at the beach were buzzing every night with music, bonfires and new friends. Luckily there weren’t any vuvezelas around. See you at next year’s RWMF.

Heineken partners Rainforest World Music Festival was held from 9-11 July 2010 at Sarawak Cultural Village, Santubong, Sarawak. Check out www.heineken.com.my for more Heineken and www.rainforest-borneo.com on more RWMF goodness. More pics here.

Image Heineken Music