Thursday, May 24, 2012

So How Did Borneo Jazz Festival 2012 Do?

The dust has settled and the 7th edition of Borneo/Miri Jazz has recently ended. The festival organisers, Sarawak Tourism Board (STB), were not kidding when they created the tagline “Where adventure lives!”.

What an adventure it was indeed, given its open-air setting amidst the lush green landscaped gardens of the Parkcity Everly Hotel, with its beach fronting the South China Sea.
 image credit: Veronica Ng
STB CEO and festival steering committee chairman Datuk Rashid Khan was spot on when he said that the Borneo Jazz Festival is a signature tourism event in Miri and has brought the northern region of Sarawak into the international limelight.
He is confident that it will be one of the leading Jazz events in the region.

Figures released by STB indicate that attendance has increased over last year, with 8,201 festival goers recorded compared to 7,811 in 2011. The number of visitors from outside Sarawak have also increased. The Board is confident that this trend will escalate in the coming years.

For the first time, Borneo Jazz featured a craft bazaar including craft making  demonstrations and sales of arts and craft items from the various ethnic groups. See accompanying story on Alijohn handcrafted silver.

STB also continued its greening tradition of the festival with a tree planting ceremony at Curtin University. The board encourages the use of green products and practices at the festival.

I must say that STB have hit on the right formula to promote Miri internationally as a resort city and Borneo Jazz as well as big brother the Rainforest World Music Festival are the sparkly jewels drawing in the crowds yearly. See accompanying stories “Meritz Hotel”, “The Piasau Beach Club”, “Clean, Green & Grin” and Rainforest World Music Festival”.

STB will adopt new approaches to promote and market Borneo Jazz Festival next year in conjunction with Visit Sarawak Year 2013 and the 50th anniversary of the state’s independence through Malaysia.

Minister of Tourism Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Abang Openg said that the event had received very positive response from jazz fans.

“This is going to be a package that we are going to produce – music plus adventure, and this package will include air fare, festival tickets and entry to national parks.” he said.
Present at the festival were German Ambassador to Malaysia Dr Guenter Georg Gruber, Assistant Minister of Communications Datuk Lee Kim Shin, Mayor Lawrence Lai, and STB chief executive officer Datuk Rashid Khan.

As always, any event is only as good as the people behind it, and kudos are due to Ms Angelina Bateman and her crew Mr Gustino Basuan, Mr Mark Justin Silvester, Ms Sarren Michael Abu, Ms Catharina Tipong and Ms Pauline Lim from STB.

A special shout out to Artistic Director Ms Yeoh Jun Lin, her very able Girl Friday Ms Yeo Yu Puay and sound maestro Mr Niall Macaulay for ensuring that the music remained awesome for 48 hours straight. You guys rock!

Also deserving special mention are Emcee Gerard Ratnam, the nameless support services guys, volunteers, sound and light crew and Photomeister Pein Lee who was everywhere and nowhere all at once, with the uncanny ability to creep up and snap the right shot at exactly the right time and quietly slink away, grinning like the proverbial cheshire cat who got the cream.   

Fellow members of the mainstream media and bloggers who travelled from afar, trading tweets and facebook posts, whatsapping, texting and youtubing on the fly with me to help promote this great musical celebration.

Of course Borneo Jazz would be nowhere without the real stars of the festival – the awesomelly talented and gifted performers who gave their best, and the eight thousand plus audience members for whom this was all about.

To quote ABBA - Thank You For The Music, and see you at the Rainforest World Music Festival 2012.            

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