Dusk brings not only the fireflies, bats and beautiful birdsong, but the main stage events too, with leading artists in folk, traditional and world music. There is no doubt that the exquisite setting of the Festival injects the artists with an enthusiasm for sharing their creations like few other places in the world. Not for a second do you feel as if they are just churning out just another festival gig. They are singing to that mountain, beating in rhythm to the wildlife and, all in all, creating one big choral cacophony that captures nature’s sounds and celebrates musical traditions of the world. This year international and eclectic greats include such as Pat Thomas and Kwashibu Area Band from Ghana; Shanren, one of China’s top indie folk bands from the Yunnan Province; and traditional Irish folk band with a contemporary and multi-cultural following, Téada.
Just 40 minutes’ drive from Sarawak’s capital, Kuching, and with shuttle buses running to and from the Festival all weekend, timing your visit to this extraordinary state alongside the Rainforest World Music Festival will either start you on a Sarawakian trip of a lifetime, or finish your trip with a bang. And desires for never ending encores. The good news is that, from Kuching, it is easy to keep singing the joys of the rainforest for a few weeks at least. Closest to the Festival site is Bako National Park, just across the bay. Sarawak’s oldest park, its most famous habitants are the proboscis monkeys, but there are plenty of other quirky creatures out there including the bearded pigs and long-tailed macaques. Which sound a bit like names of bands that might be doing the festival trail.