Saturday, July 04, 2009

Sarawak Rainforest World Music Festival - Rain on their parade

The escalating costs of attending the Sarawak Rainforest World Music Festival are giving fans the blues.

While the Sarawak Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) is a major event for many music fans in Malaysia and beyond, the event is currently attracting attention for the wrong reasons: High costs.

Due in part to operators bent on profiteering, the costs of attending the festival have been escalating, causing even regulars to decide that enough is enough, and skip 2009’s event. This is despite the fact that some of these people have already paid several hundred ringgit for the air fare to Kuching (from KL).

There are several hotels in Damai, the festival area about 40km from Kuching, but the rates have been spiking alarmingly. Even the state-owned property, Permai Rainforest Resort, a basic, no-frills property popular with the locals, has doubled its rates this year.

Part of the reasons for this could be because the resort’s management has been leased out to the private sector. A similar issue arose recently at Mt Kinabalu in Sabah, where expensive accommodation is deterring many locals from climbing. Staying at one of Permai’s cabins during the festival used to cost about RM200 a night three years ago. Last year the rates were raised drastically to RM558 a night.

This year, it’s a whopping RM825. Consequently, many who have stayed there have decided either not to stay at Permai (once the cheapest place) or skip this year’s three-night event altogether.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Sarawak Rainforest World Music Festival - Rain on their parade

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