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Rainforest World Music Festival Review

Review of Rainforest World Music Festival

The Rainforest World Music Festival 2016 will take place from 5-7 August at the Sarawak Cultural Village which is located in Damai, Santubong, 40 minutes drive from Kuching city.

This unique and special event has also been running for 20 years and is Malaysia's largest and most interesting festivals to attend. Why? Simply because it is held in the rainforest in Borneo.

Review of Rainforest World Music Festival

Commonly called RWMF, the short acronym for Rainforest World Music Festival, the three-day festival attracts over 10,000 people from all walks of life and also from around the world.

This unique event is also featured in many international publications around the world and voted as one of the top 25 music festivals in the world to attend. To date, there are still many festival-goers that return yearly while others tend to do so on alternate years.

You may be asking what is so special about the RWMF 2016? For starters, this is, in fact, one of the best music festivals in Malaysia, in terms of international experiences, quality of music and the overall festival atmosphere.

This unique and fun music festival is suitable for singles, teenagers, couples and even families and operates on a very professional level which is a world-class operation, so you can be assured of an amazing time at the festival.

RWMF2015, this was at the main entrance to the festival and the most photographed place too

What to expect at the Rainforest World Music Festival?

At the festival grounds, you can find all kinds of vendors selling and exhibiting local Sarawakian and Bornean arts and handicrafts.

These can be usually found around the traditional homes at the cultural village and for art, there is traditional and temporary tattoos artist which are also located around the festival grounds.

RWMF performers music CD's will also be on sale at the Sarawak Tourism Board's main booth apart from the official t-shirts and merchandise being sold there too.

For food and beverage, there is a fantastic mix of local and international stalls available inside and outside the festival.

This is always high on priority as visitors will be spending a lot of time at the festival therefore choices are always important.

Some simple fast food is also available while local ethnic Sarawakian food will also be available for those wanting to try this unique cuisine.

For the RWMF Workshops, there are many different ones ongoing at the various spots around the Sarawak Cultural Village grounds.

Visitors can attend them as and when they like, as it is free and open to all. Other than that, it's pure world music and a festival full of it. Below are some random photos taken around the festival grounds during the event.

Vendors at Rainforest World Music Festival
One of the traders that sell traditional and ethnic costumes, fabrics and accessories

Craft Bazaar Rainforest World Music Festival
Another trader sells traditional Sarawakian bead jewellery and accessories

Henna from Sarawak
A visitor gets some Henna for her hand

Booths at Rainforest World Music Festival
There is a large food and hawker area located at the festive grounds

Official merchandise RWMF
RWMF official merchandise store, selling all sorts of t-shirts and music CD's

Rainforest World Music Festival Performers, Artist and Bands

To date (4th April 2016) four performers have been confirmed while the rest will be announced within the next couple of months.

Note that these artists and performers are painstakingly selected through a very tough process every year by the music director of the festival. The confirmed performers include; 

Pat Thomas - Africa
Hailing from Ghana, Pat is known as the Golden Voice of Africa and has been in the African music scene for over 50 years and recently released an album in 2015. His collaboration works are with the top musicians of Africa and now bringing the Afrobeat and Afro-Pop music to this part of the world. 

Shanren - China 
Coming from Yunnan, Shanren means 'mountain men' and they have become one of China’s top indie-folk bands where the four-piece outfit aims to promote and preserve the colourful and diverse heritage of Yunnan and Guizhou’s many ethnic minority tribes through original compositions and re-workings of local folk melodies. They have also been nominated for various international awards and won the Best Folk Roots album at the Golden Folk Awards 2014. 

Téada - Ireland 
Having worldwide success, this 15-year-old Irish band has played most of the world music festivals, even at Penang World Music Festival. The six-piece band has also been labelled as 'at the cutting edge of the next generation of Irish musicians…with a fierce familiarity with the old ways.' by one of Ireland's leading music magazines. 

1Drum.org - Malaysia
Known to entertain visitors with their unique drumming performances and their popular 'Drum Circles' during the festival, these guys have become a benchmark of drumming during the RWMF.

There are a few more bands and performers that will be announced and we will update them here once we get the information.

If you would like to know who played at the last festival, see this Rainforest World Music Festival 2015 Performers List.

RWMF Photos
The crowd on the first day of RWMF 2015

Sangpuy from the ethnic tribes of Taiwan performs on stage

Below are some comments by travellers from around the world;
Graham Stephenson · Gold Coast, Queensland - The RWMF is one of the most - if not "the" most outstanding music events in the world and its presentation in a beautiful safe environment just gets better and better every year. Malaysia (and Sarawak) are our favorite countries to visit in Asia.  
Thomas Gennaro · Bangkok, Thailand - Well done guys, I can say for me RWMF is one of the music festivals I enjoy the most. Keep the good work, I hope to see you all again this year!
Rainforest World Music Festival 2016 Tickets

RWMF Tickets
► Adult (1 Day Pass) RM 140.00
► Adult (3 Day Pass) RM 380.00

► Child (1 Day Pass) RM 70.00
► Child (3 Day Pass) RM 170.00

RWMF Family Package Tickets
► (2 Adult + 2 Child tickets) RM 280.00

A performer from Kobagi Kecak group from Bali, Indonesia

Authorized Ticket Resellers:

Jit Collections, Kuching
Mr Harvin Singh
Tel: +6 010 231 0619 / +6 014 6926123
Email: harvinsingh5079[a]yahoo.com

S.K. Souvenir House
Tel: +6 016 8848338
Email: sksouvenirhouse[at]gmail.com

Ecogreen Holidays Sdn Bhd
Ms Melissa Liau
Tel: +6082 425281 (office) / 012 8022218 (Melissa Liau)
Email: ecogreenborneo[at]gmail.com

Singgahsana Lodge Adventures Sdn Bhd
Mr Donald Tan
Tel: +6082 429239 / 012 8890577
Email: info[at]borneoexperiences.com

For more information and tickets, please visit the official Rainforest World Music Festival Website.

One of the world musicians tunes his instrument before starting

Map of the Sarawak Cultural Village

Rainforest World Music Festival 2016
Date: 5-7 August 2016
Venue: Sarawak Cultural Village, Santubong

What else can you do during the RWMF 2016?

Well, most visitors would be staying in Kuching city and shuttling to and from the event, therefore if you are coming earlier or planning to extend your stay after the event, you are in luck as there are quite a several interesting things one can do in and around Kuching.

Check out this article on What to do in Kuching plus there are also other nature experiences you can do just outside of the city.

You can simply inquire with any of the local travel agents for this. And if you are a foodie, you can also try eating local food in Kuching as this is home to some of the most amazing local and ethnic foods in Borneo.

The ethnic Iban people of Sarawak perform on the main stage during the RWMF

At the last Rainforest World Music Festival 2015, an average of 18,000 world music enthusiasts attended the event.

And based on the initial profile, 69% were Malaysians while 31% were from outside the country, this was based on a statistics report issued out by the Sarawak Tourism Board in early 2016.

If anyone else is visiting Sarawak earlier or heading to Miri in May, do take note that the Borneo Jazz Festival 2016 is also happening there from 13-14 May in Miri, Sarawak.

This international jazz festival is also organized by the Sarawak Tourism Board and is one of the longest-running jazz festivals in Malaysia which should not be missed.


For those who have never attended this unique and special world music festival here in Borneo, I highly recommend you do so as it is totally one-of-a-kind on earth.

This year, the Sarawak Tourism Board is optimistic that the event can easily achieve 20,000 visitors over the three days for the Rainforest World Music Festival 2016. Let us hope that you, reading this will be one of the visitors here.

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