Rainforest World Music Festival Solidifies Sarawak’s Cultural Legacy Amid Global Expansion Plans

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RWMF to Remain Iconic Sarawak Event Despite Potential International Expansion

Rainforest World Music Festival Solidifies Sarawak's Cultural Legacy Amid Global Expansion Plans
Rainforest World Music Festival Solidifies Sarawak’s Cultural Legacy Amid Global Expansion Plans

KUCHING: The Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF), a beloved cultural celebration synonymous with Sarawak, will maintain its roots in the Malaysian state amidst discussions of international expansion.

Sarawak’s Commitment to Cultural Heritage

Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) CEO, Sharzede Datuk Salleh Askor, reaffirmed the festival’s allegiance to Sarawak despite contemplating hosting it in other nations.

Expansion Plans and Local Identity

Speaking at a press conference on June 30, Sharzede addressed concerns raised by artist Datuk Zainal Abidin at RWMF 2024 regarding potential shifts in the festival’s location.

Licensing for Global Presence

Sharzede emphasized that while discussions include the possibility of holding RWMF in Thailand and Vietnam, the festival’s essence will remain deeply rooted in Sarawak’s cultural tapestry.


The Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) is set to retain its place as a cultural landmark in Sarawak, Malaysia, despite discussions about expanding its reach internationally. Sarawak Tourism Board’s CEO, Sharzede Datuk Salleh Askor, confirmed during a recent press conference that while there are talks about organizing the festival in other countries such as Thailand and Vietnam, this will not diminish its significance as a Sarawakian event.

Sarawak’s Commitment to Cultural Heritage

Addressing statements made by artist Datuk Zainal Abidin at RWMF 2024, Sharzede clarified that any potential international editions of the festival would be conducted under a licensing or franchise agreement, emphasizing Sarawak’s ownership and identity in every iteration of the event.

Expansion Plans and Local Identity

The CEO highlighted the board’s exploration of licensing possibilities to host RWMF abroad, aiming to extend the festival’s reach beyond regional borders while preserving its authenticity as a Sarawakian cultural phenomenon.

Licensing for Global Presence

“We created it (RWMF) and we want to present it as a Sarawak event with a licence or franchise if it is organised in a foreign country,” Sharzede explained. This strategic approach not only aims to promote Sarawak’s cultural heritage globally but also underscores the state’s commitment to preserving and showcasing its diverse cultural traditions on an international stage.

Earlier discussions, sparked by Zainal Abidin’s proposal to relocate RWMF to Thailand under Thai governmental management, have sparked debate regarding potential collaborative benefits, including enhanced environmental conservation efforts.

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