Text Kevin Yeoh
Images Sarawak Tourism Board & Heineken
More than a decade old, the Rainforest World Music Festival has become one of those events so heavily anticipated that people plan for it a year in advance and deservedly so. Call it the Woodstock of Asia but with fewer guitars and as much rain.
Predicted over the weekend, reliably the heavens opened up. Some festival-goers huddled together under the food tent snapping piccies with a giant inflatable Heineken bottle while watching the action from the large screen erected in the vicinity. Invited here by Heineken, JUICE was treated to a very generous amount of amber love – it certainly kept us warm and up for action, but the remaining 10,000 strong crowd was not to be held back as they braved the rain and splashed around in the mud.
The music and dance workshops are a huge RWMF attraction, offering a unique opportunity to get up close with the musicians and participate, nevertheless the highlight of this year’s RWMF came after dark from spirited performances Malaysia’s own Akasha, Hiroshi Motofuji from Japan, funny band New Rope Strong Band from UK, Congo/UK’s Kasai Masai, Yakande from Gambia/Guinea and Sheldon Blackman & The Love Circle from Trinidad & Tobago. The latter went down a storm and mud or no, the crowd responded, their enthusiasm unbridled, as they cheered on the band Heineken’s aloft. Despite the occasional lull due to scheduling, a Hong Kong pal JUICE was hanging with commented “I’ve never experienced anything like this before!”
We didn’t want it to end, and it didn’t as after-parties sprung up spontaneously by the hotel pool and on the beaches. Like an impromptu jam session musicians joined in as the rest of us circulated Heineken in hand until as late as 4am when finally the last man/woman standing would trundle off for a few hours kip. A world music event RWMF may be but far from a polite affair, it parties just as hard and wild as Woodstock with as much camaraderie and commitment let loose and let it all out.
The Rainforest World Music Festival 2008 was held at Sarawak Cultural Village from July 11 to 13. JUICE would like to thank Heineken for the invitation and love. Hic!
Rainforest World Music Festival 2008 Preview Party
Xpax have done big things with the recent Xlive and last year’s My Chemical Romance gig. They supported Rainforest World Music Festival 2008 offering free tix with every purchase of a RM50 reload coupon at Celcom branches (while stocks lasted) and a preview party at the aptly named Rainforest Bar in Sunway. This sneak preview saw RWMF scheduled band Sheldon Blackman & The Love Circle throw down the soca and jamoo in a rousing performance that acted as a thrilling taster of the event to come.