Celebrate world music in all its beauty and diversity at the Rainforest World Music Festival. Held annually in Sarawak, Borneo in Malaysia, the three-day festival has been awarded as one of the best international festivals in the world by Songlines for 6 years in a row – and for good reason!
The Rainforest World Music Festival is unlike any other music festival you’ve been to. Set in the lush tropical and mystical island that is Borneo, what really makes it special is the fact that participants get to enjoy more intimate vibes with the performers, who come from all over the globe! Traditionally, music festivals sweep musicians away backstage after each performance. But in this event, you’ll likely see the artists walk around, conducting intimate concerts during workshops, and even enjoying the festival right alongside you.
The festival, which has been around since 1997, features a lineup that is constantly evolving.
‘Party with over 20,000 people dancing to kick-ass African beats, local native chants, crazy percussions, American folk music, and so much more.’
Aside from the amazing music, the Rainforest World Music Festival also offers tons of exciting free music workshops. Plus, it’s set in the Sarawak Cultural Village, a stunning outdoor venue with lots to discover about local culture. From awesome demonstrations and displays, great shopping, delicious food, and world music that will have you dancing till you drop, the Rainforest World Music Festival is one of the world’s best!
The Rainforest World Music Festival is held at the Sarawak Cultural Village, which opens daily from 10AM onwards. It’s around 45 minutes outside the center of Kuching, the capital city of Sarawak.
This picturesque outdoor venue is not only beautiful, but it’s chock-full of local culture – the perfect starting point for learning about Borneo. Tucked on the base of the majestic Mount Santubong, the lush manicured grounds make for a truly one-of-a-kind festival experience. Explore the boardwalks built between the traditional Sarawak longhouses and check out the dozens of displays.
One-day and three-day passes are available for adults and children, as well as family packages. We recommend booking early and getting to the venue early to reserve good seats.
Local taxis and buses are found all over Sarawak, connecting you with the different city centers, suburbs, and rural districts. If you’re only staying within the Kuching city center, it’s compact enough to explore on foot.
Around the time of the festival, there’s lots of transport options from Kuching. The cheapest way to get to Sarawak Cultural Village is to take a public bus. Check with your hotel if they also offer transfers to and from the festival grounds.
Damai Beach is a choice location to base yourself in for the Rainforest World Music Festival. It’s only a few minutes away from the Sarawak Cultural Village by foot, and there are several budget, midrange, and luxury hotels to choose from. Kuching city is another good alternative; from here, just take a bus or taxi to the festival.
Sarawak is famous for its traditional Iban Longhouses, which you can not only tour but even stay in for a night or two if you’re cool with very basic facilities.
Take a walking tour of Kuching, a colorful city filled with diverse cultural and heritage attractions including mosques, Chinese temples, colonial buildings, lively street bazaars, and museums. You might also notice that cat statues are a dime a dozen. That’s because Kuching means “cat”.
Nature lovers, rejoice! There are 25 national parks in Sarawak to get your feet dirty in, hike, and explore. The best ones include the Bako National Park, Gunung Gading National Park, Kubah National Park, and Tanjung Datu National Park. On top of that, there are 8 nature reserves and 4 wildlife sanctuaries.
Sarawak’s beaches are worth checking out if you’re in need of some sea and sun. Oh, and indulge in the super delicious Malay, Indian, and Chinese cuisine that’s abundant here.
The 2019 Rainforest World Music Festival will be held from July 12 to 14.
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