|Abdul Karim (second right) walks through puddles of rainwater from the previous night to get to the festival stage on the left.|
KUCHING: The 20th Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) gets a connectivity boost from Sacofa Sdn Bhd, which recently increased capacity up to 1Gbps at Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV) and the immediate areas.
This means people in the area can now enjoy free plug-and-play wifi access, a bonus for festival goers, journalists, and social media practitioners.
“In the past, those who came to RWMF complained of bad connectivity. With too many people, the speed was slow and there was no way to share real-time scenarios with their friends and relatives back home,” said Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah yesterday.
“The structure will remain even after the festival so connectivity with the outside world from here will be easier. If there is a need to further increase the capacity, we will make further arrangements. But 1Gbps should be enough for the festival and also for other times of the year.”
Abdul Karim yesterday visited the festival site to inspect preparations for the three-day festival that starts tomorrow. He noted that a few touch-ups were necessary, while the whole place would be fogged to reduce mosquitoes.
He was accompanied by the ministry’s permanent secretary Datuk Ik Pahon Joyik, SCV general manager Jane Lian Labang, and STB acting CEO Mary Wan Mering.
“During my tour this morning, I saw a number of things that need to be done, and not just for RWMF. Some of the structures are a bit worn out. We have to do something about them. We can’t show these to tourists,” he said.
He said he had asked the SCV management to draw up an inventory of what had to be replaced or repaired.
“I believe this year’s budget for tourism will be more than in the past. We need to look far ahead and look seriously into connectivity with the outside world to bring in more tourists,” he said, referring to the chief minister’s announcement earlier this week on a boost in budget for tourism next year.
There has already been an increase in ticket sales.
“Last year, we had a total of 18,000 visitors to this festival. This year may be more. There is a 12 per cent increase in ticket sales from last year.”
Abdul Karim said this could be due to the Rainforest Fringe Festival 2017 (RFF17), which kicked off last week at the Old Courthouse.
“Unlike in previous years, we have the RFF17 to make the connection from Kuching to Damai showcasing our food, culture, art, and photography. The concert ‘Sada Kamek’ was a prelude to this weekend. We built up the hype, not just for tourists but for Kuchingites. So this year is a little different.”
While Sarawak cannot emulate big music festivals elsewhere due to venue constraint, Abdul Karim said that 20,000 to 25,000 visitors for three days is a good number.
Yesterday, he also launched ‘Rainforest World Music Festival – 20 Years of Song and Rhythm in Sarawak’, a coffee table book about how RWMF began and its evolution to the present day.
Authored by Place Borneo Sdn Bhd director Gracie Geikie and Place Business Events Sdn Bhd director Lah Wan Yee, the 164-page coffee table book will be available for sale at the festival site as well as online at https://rwmf20.wixsite.com.
It will also be soon available on Amazon.com. -TheBorneoPost