Last weekend saw many locals and tourists revel in the popular outdoor music festival in Kuching, Sarawak. However, rumors suggested that the highly-successful yearly Rainforest World Music Festival event would be shifted from Kuching to Miri, a neighboring Sarawak city.
The rumor goes so far as to even name the next location, the Borneo Tropical Rainforest Resort (BTRR), which is nestled deep in the Lambir forest--about 33km from the city.
When The Star went looking for answers, BTRR's owner, Henry Law Ing Hua said “No, I have not heard about this. However, we did request for RWMF to be brought over to Miri two years ago but it was turned down on the ground that it would be too costly for the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) to hold the festival here.”
Of course Law would have been delighted if the news were true because it would improve Miri's tourism and it would be “a great bonus for BTRR”. He added:
“I did have guests who came here recently asking me why I did not get some of the performers from the RWMF to perform at my place. They said our location will be suitable for the event.
“In my opinion, BTTR is surrounded by the forest and is away from the city centre. It has retained certain spiritual charms much like those in a rainforest. But at the same time, the outfit may not be able to accommodate the huge crowd of the RWMF, which has grown from year to year,” he pointed out.
Unfortunately for Law, but fortunately for RWMF fans, Tourism minister Datuk Abang Johari Tun Openg firmly denied the telltale.
“No (it’s not true). It will still be in Kuching, except that the approach to the festival will be different next year.”
Johari didn't reveal what the improvements will be but he did say the changes were necessary to sustain the festival and keep it relevant to visitors.