Music Phenzes

People Who Are Addicted To Music

A Music Festival Grows In The Rainforest

palsandae2

The international summer festival circuit is full of contenders, celebrating cultures and subcultures while hustling for global vacation dollars. For musicians, festivals mean exposure, a paycheck and a rolling party of peers. For communities, they’re a revenue engine and self-promotion platform. For music-hungry fans, they’re vacation anchors, or vacations unto themselves.

The menu has exploded in recent years, from veteran post-Woodstock pop feasts like Glastonbury and Roskilde to more specialized events like Sonar (highbrow EDM) and Kill-Town Death Fest (metal, duh) to more ethnically-minded gatherings like Finland’s Kaustinen Folk Festival, which look to advance regional culture. The Rainforest World Music Festival, staged spectacularly between a beach and a rainforest mountain peak in the state of Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo, is an object lesson in the latter. The 16th annual event, which concluded its three-day run on the last day of June, showed how a region can use a festival to grow its local music scene and tourism industry, while also raising consciousness — along with, in this case, some uncomfortable questions — about its environmental stewardship.

A nominally Muslim country defined by a mix of Chinese, Indian and native cultures and the warmth of its people, Malaysia has always had a bit of an image problem. At one time it was local tribal headhunting practices; more recently it’s been political unrest in Sabah and a checkered environmental scorecard. In part, perhaps, to help counter this, a group of international concert promoters and journalists were brought in for a world music business conference and expo in nearby Kuching prior to the festival. [Full disclosure: I was among the journalists invited to speak.]

by will hermes

MPZ ROCZ

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This entry was posted on July 10, 2013 by in EVENTS, NEWS and tagged , , , , .

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