Thursday, May 20, 2010

KK Jazz Festival - Jazz, and all that jazz

When a jazz festival was mooted by the Society of Performing Arts of Kota Kinabalu (SPArKS) three years ago, nobody wanted it. The Rotary Club of Kota Kinabalu thought it could use it to raise funds for its community projects. The response to it surprised the organisers: more than 1,000 people bought tickets of 50 and 100 ringgit ($16 and $32) for the three yearly jazz shows.

About 240,000 ringgit was raised for the Rotarians’ projects and SPArKS. Now in its fourth year, Masidi Manjun, minister of tourism, culture and environment, is thinking of turning it into a month-long festival to earn money from tourists.

“Our city will become the centre of world music,” he said on May 18 in announcing this year’s jazz festival scheduled for June 18 and 19. It will be held at the roofed tennis court of Sutera Harbour Marina Golf and Country Club in Kota Kinabalu. “We want to showcase world music. We’re not talking just about jazz, but a month of all kinds of music including classical, hip hop and our cultural music.”

Mr Masidi, who is a fan of Malaysia’s jazz queen Sheila Majid, feels that such a festival will spur local business. “People will be flocking to our city,” he says. “They will dine in our restaurants, sleep in our hotels, buy our handicraft and visit other places in Sabah.”

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