The Rain-Fest 2010 Final Review


Yeah, I know… yet another post about the Rain-Fest. If you are getting bored reading about the rain-fest, then be patient because this is the last post about how great the 3-day fest was.

Indeed, you may say I seem to be biased since the fest is somewhat ‘Sarawakian’ in nature, but I just can’t help it. Such a wonderful festival deserves to be shared, and with me having a blog… I simply can’t help but tell all of you of how great this festival was.

The saying is that, at every Rain-Fest, you’d leave with one band which you would fall in love with. If last years Rain-Fest was all about Dazkeriah (Portugal), and the previous one (2008) was all about Akasha (Malaysia), this year belonged to Watussi (Australia). They hyped out the audience with their Cuban-Latino music, while they made sure everyone had fun during the workshops they conducted. As a matter of fact, I gave them a standing ovation during one of the workshops, which is something I rarely do as a Malaysian!

Amazingly, this year, my Rain-Fest was not solely about the concert because I was able to attend more of the workshops held during the afternoon. If you enjoy the night concerts at the Rain-Fest, then you will be hooked to the workshops because these workshops are indeed the ‘gem’ of the whole festival. With that said, the magic of the Rain-Fest isn’t at the hugely popular night concerts, but it happens in the workshops. Yes. Definitely. If you missed the workshops, and I can say you definitely missed the Rain-Fest.

Enough about the workshops, how was the night concerts?

Putting aside my own personal feeling that there were too many percussionist/African beats, I felt the concert was a blast! Although some of the music wasn’t exactly danceable to an extent, but I do have this weird idea that the Rain-Fest is all about sharing music and culture, so I couldn’t actually be bothered about whether the beats are danceable or not. Okay, if it was, that would be a bonus!

The second day of the Rain-Fest was a dry affair as it didn’t rain at all. As if it’s a tradition, Mike, Amiey and I, with Elisha got ourselves a temporary tattoo to show off to the crowd. I personally felt that being in the Rain-Fest wasn’t complete without one, so I got this big tribal tattoo sprayed on my arm. Attended some amazing workshops, and settled for a spot near the VIP stand for the night concert. I missed Ensemble Shanbehzadeh (Iran) show as I was busy trying to sell off my extra ticket, but I was just in time to catch Kimura Ono Duo (Japan). While I can’t remember the name of their instruments, but they provided all those attending with ‘guitar plucking’ to the best! I could only imagine if the ‘Sape’ was played alongside. It would have been phenomenal!

Saturday was definitely Minuit Guibolles (France) night as they were the best performers on stage. My ‘broken’ French made it difficult to understand what they were saying, but that didn’t stop me and the rest of the crowd to be swayed by the tunes they had on. If they weren’t placed in the middle of the line –up, I bet the crowd would be shouting for more. Performances from beautiful Braagas (Chech Republic) filled the rainforest with Balkan and Medieval tunes, while Leila Negrau of the Reunion Islands captured the attention of the audience with her unique voice, and her passion for percussion. Her performance was magical! Monster Ceilidh Band from the UK had beautiful tunes as they try their best to diminish the idea that folk tunes are only meant for old men with long beard, while award winning Farafina (Burkina Faso) thrilled the crowd with tunes of Africa.

The last and final day of the Rain-Fest was all about the workshops (and again, I start speaking of the workshops). I attended the Guitar Hear-o workshop which saw numerous string instruments being played side by side, but the Mondial Blues and Percussionistas Workshops proved to be the main highlights of Day 3. They were so good that the audience not only gave them a standing ovation, but also screamed and shouted for more!

Night fell, and it started to drizzle. It wasn’t something I had in mind, but like the saying goes “What’s the Rain-Fest without Rain?” Regardless of the rain, 5000 visitors came in full force to enjoy the Rain-Fest, which was now more looking like a Mud-Fest. Sounds by local Bidayuh Pingasan’K started the night by enchanting the audience with their bamboo made instruments while Yerboli (China) heated up the festival area with their earthy vocals and beats.

De Temps Antan (Canada) made the crowd go wild as they introduced their version of the Celtic music, while Musafir Gypsies of Rajasthan awed the crowd with circus like performance such as dancing on glass, knives and acrobatics. Galandum Galundaina (Portugal) was way better than Cristiano Ronaldo when they performed using their hand-made instruments, while Novalima of Peru ensured that the Rain-Fest had a slight beat of modernity when they jumbled up Afro-Peruvian music with modern DJ culture.

Remember the rain? Well, it continued to rain heavily until the Finale, but this failed to stop revelers and music enthusiast from enjoying every single bit of the mud-fest.. ehh.. Rain-Fest. I guess, if that doesn’t prove a successful Rain-Fest, nothing else would.

Next year, I’m marking 8-10 July 2011 as ‘FILLED’.

NOTE: Photos without watermark are from the Sarawak Tourism Board and are taken by Suchen


  1. Ladybird:
    Ahh.. u missed the workshops? Sayang.. but you guys I heard have nightly jams with the musicians as volunteers right? And yeah, I will make it rock for Sarawak Bloggers.

    Its a pleasure to meet u finally Elisha. Lost you during the night, but when we do have time.. we could hang out over lunch 🙂 Anyway, indeed, its a mudfest 🙂

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