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October 8, 2010

Sarawak to stage new Rainforest International Rock Festival next year

By DIANA ROSE
drose@thestar.com.my 

SARAWAK will host another international musical event called “Rainforest International Rock Festival” or RIRF to be staged in Miri, sometime in October next year.

The event, which would uphold the “rainforest” branding will be an improvised ambitious version of the current “Tree House Rock Concert” held annually at the Borneo Tropical Rainforest Resort (BTRR), about 35km from Miri along the Miri-Bintulu road.

The Tree House Rock Concert which would be held on Oct 9 this year is popular, especially among Brunei expatriates community. Two Bruneian rock bands, “Candolah” and “ASEAM Groove” will be performing at this year’s event.

http://thestar.com.my/archives/2010/10/8/sarawak/sw_03Rashid.jpg
Rashid: ‘Current business plan is to engage with local tourism stakeholders to organise a more dynamic and attractive events to promote Sarawak tourism industry to the world’.

The inaugural RIRF next year will be jointly organised by Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) and (BTRR).

STB chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Rashid Khan said the change of name from Tree House Rock Concert to Rainforest International Rock Festival was part of a re-branding exercise to further popularise the concert.

He said BTRR had sought STB’s advise on how best to make its current Tree House Rock Concert into a bigger event and a crowd puller to Miri.

“My response is that the name of the event have got to change and that’s why from next year onwards we are calling it as Rainforest International Rock Festival,” he added.

“Sarawak must own that Rainforest brand,’’ he said adding that Sarawak is a niche tourists destination and choosing the right brand name was crucial.

Abdul Rashid said “The RIRF will be STB’s first jointly organised event with a private sector”.

He said BTRR’s request was timely as STB current business plan was to engage with interested tourism stakeholders to organise tourism related activities.

“We see lot of potential in this Rainforest International Rock Festival. The location is right in the middle of the forest and exuding the typical rainforest ambience will definitely be a selling point,’’ he said adding that STB would sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the joint venture next month.

BTRR managing director Henry Law Ing Hua felt strongly with the event.

“We have been organising this rock concert for two years in a very small way and we have managed to attract about 200 people. With proper planning and organising with the help of STB I feel we can do much more,” he said.

Law said his resort could accommodate about 3,000 visitors in a day while his rooms could easily take in about 300 guests per night.

BTRR also has a camping site that can accommodate a maximum of 500 campers per night, he added.

Abdul Rashid said the resort had the right package to hold an international event.

“Apart from rooms, eating outlets, the resort are also teeming with various organisations to organise activities, ranging from team buildings to farm experience. It also has a mini zoo and a soon to be completed “water world” for children.”

The BTRR would be Miri’s second international music event after the annual International Jazz Festival which is normally held in May.

Abdul Rashid said the BTRR would will be a three-day affair similarly to the internationally renown Rainforest World Music Festival held annually at the Sarawak Cultural Village in Kuching.

He also promised among others to bring international rockers group to the event next year.

With this new event in the pipeline, Sarawak will be hosting four international events that has music and rainforest element attached to it.

Apart from The Rainforest World Music Festival and the International Jazz Festival, it also hosts the annual Borneo Cultural Festival in Sibu.

Source: The Star


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