Rainforest World Music Festival 2017 – 10 tips for a newbie 


This year is the 20th edition of the Rainforest World Music Festival and will be from July 14 – 16, 2017 at the Sarawak Cultural Village.

If it is your first time or a newbie as we say nowadays, here are some tips for you and are in no particular order of importance.

Most of the information here is plucked from the website rwmf.net and the other tips shared are basically based on my own personal encounters with fellow festival goers.  In a nutshell, I have just simplified it for your convenience.

1. Buy your tickets NOW 

Your first basic thing to do is get your tickets. Most of us, especially Malaysians love last minute rush. I guess it’s the thrill of having that adrenaline rush doing things at the last hour (yours truly included) . Anyway, If you have not, you better do it now because buying it at the gate would be slightly more expensive. Click  here to purchase your tickets.  Make sure you key in your correct email address and also that your contact number is correct too.

Once that is done, move on to step 2.


Screenshot of festival tickets price 

2. Go EARLY to the festival 

Festival gates open at 10am and the new element of the festival this year is the health and wellness program. Some of the activities that you can join are:

  • Vibrational Meditation and Homa Therapy
  • Vipassana Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Shenlong Tai Chi
  • Zumba
  • Body Combat
  • Silat
  • Capoeira

Become a martial arts expert in 3 days? you can try.

Then in the afternoon enjoy the various workshops and in the evening the night concerts.

The main reason you need to go early is due to the next reason.

3. Take the shuttle – free 500 return passes up for grabs

Yes.  That’s amazing ya? This year the festival organisers, the Sarawak Tourism Board is giving away free return shuttle to the festival site, the Sarawak Cultural Village.  This is only eligible to the first 500 only to those that have already bought their festival entrance tickets. That’s why you need to buy tickets NOW.

The shuttle pick up points are from the city are Hills Shopping Mall, Harbour View Hotel and Plaza Merdeka. The first pick up time from the city is at 9am.

Pick up times are as  indicated in the bus schedule below.


4. Use comfortable attire. 

The festival ground is big and would involve a lot of walking. Walking to the workshops, the wellness programmes, visiting the various ethnic houses, food mart and so forth.

So I would recommend light clothing and comfortable shoes or sandals.  Big NO NO to high-heels.  Sorry ladies.  The plankwalks would be a living nightmare. I’ve seen personally the serious stress levels some ladies go through at the festival when they use heels. Scary…

5. Bring a day pack

Yes. Sensible thing to do. Bring a day pack to carry some of your personal belongings.

The day pack should contain the following items :

  • Powerbank – for that handy smartphone.
  • Face towel – can be really hot and sweaty especially with the walking under the hot weather.
  • Spare shirt or blouse
  • Disposable poncho / collapsible umbrella – just in case it rains. Get the cheap ones.
  • Make up for the ladies and perfume to keep that fresh look.

6. Attend the workshops 

This is my favourite part of the festival. It really does give more meaning to the night concerts once you have a better insight of the music and the cultural background which the band performs

There are over 30 mini sessions held over the three afternoons of the festival, featuring a mix of lecture-demonstrations, interactive dance tutorials, and thematic sessions – all with the intent to inform, enlighten, enthral and entertain. These will be held at Dewan Lagenda or ‘Hall of Legends’, Iban Longhouse, Bidayuh Longhouse and Malay House.


One of the workshops during the RWMF. Photo courtesy of Sarawak Tourism Board. 

6.  Bring a small percussion instrument.

I think its for the past 3 years or so the festival have included 1Drum Circle,  a great way to meet like-minded people, having fun while drumming away together to make one syncronised sound.

Bring along your musical instruments, dancing shoes, poi toys and join. No drumming experience necessary!  Drums will be provided for 100 people per session.

7. Have fun and make new friends.  

This is quite easy to do. I read somewhere a few tips and I am definitely trying it out this time around.

  • High Five -Find someone you want to meet, walk up and say, ‘High five’! Works most of the time.
  • Bring an extra poncho –  the festival is does have a tendency to get a little rainy, so make a soaked person a little happier; pack excess ponchos and umbrellas. When it starts to pour, just look around for that person that didn’t read this post about packing ponchos or umbrellas and I’m sure  you’ll have a new friend.

8.  Check out the FOOD & VILLAGE MART

No festival is complete without having the elements of good food to savour. Plenty of choices from quick bites to the heavy stuff.

  • Asian Food Kitchen (AFK)

A gastronomic adventure like no other, Asia Food Kitchen delivers authentic Asian food without having to buy those plane tickets!

AFK promises a wide selection of local and international Asian cuisines to fill your stomach and make the party something to remember. Get ready to be enticed with Grab-n-Go festival snacks to take to the stage, or spark the epicurean in you at EATOF Park.

  • Sarawak Culinary Heritage

From international to local, taste the food of the people of Sarawak, the Bidayuh, Orang Ulu and Chinese community here at the 20th edition of the RWMF.

  •  Drinkhaus

Drinkhaus is the official beverage vendor at RWMF 2017 offering mineral water, soft drinks and cold beers & stout straight from the tap, plus a luxurious selection of wines, cocktails and fruit soju.

Village Mart

From traditional massages, temporary ink tattoos, souvenir items and to really top it up take home a truly Sarawakian memento – a beautiful sape from M&M Heritage Sape handcrafted by the master himself, Matthew Ngau.

9. Get a Tattoo

The new Bidayuh Baruk will be hosting The Tribal Borneo Tattoo Expo 2017, organised by Skrang Tattoo Studio, and features artists from regions of Sarawak, Thailand and as far as Italy to promote the tattoo culture. Traditional hand-tapped tattoos are part of the Borneo tattooing culture and until today, it remains to be a sought-after way of inking one’s skin. Come see for yourself.


 Bungai Terung or the Borneo Rose is a popular tattoo. It marks the becoming of a man in the Iban community. 

So there you go, the important stuff to take note of if you are going the the Rainforest World Music Festival for the very first time. There is one more last thing before I sign this article off.

10.  Take plenty of photos and share

Yes. That’s why the powerbank is a must item in your day pack.  Take plenty of photos to capture those first moments of yours at the Rainforest World Music Festival.

Take selfies and wefies at the workshops and concerts. Take photos of the food, other activities etc etc. Need not explain plenty here. you know what to do. Share them on your social media channels and don’t forget to hashtag those photos so that your photos gets noticed by the social media community.


#RWMF #RWMF2017 

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