About 22 thousand people expected to thronged the Sarawak Cultural Village at the foot of Mount Santubong, Sarawak for the 15th annual Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF 2012).
The three-day international culture and music event already recorded some 6,000 visitors on its opening day on July 13 compared to 5,000 last year.
A total of 16 traditional and contemporary music acts from across the globe, joined by local indigenous musicians, including the 70-member Sarawak Percussion Ensemble shared the stage this year.
Recognised as the top 25 best international festivals by world renowned music magazine, Songlines, highlights of the event include String Sisters, comprising fiddlers from the Scandinavian countries HATA, a collaboration between musicians from Malaysia, South Korea, Turkey and Taiwan, Khusugtun, a Mongolian ethnic ballad group as well as renowned oud-playing brothers, Le Trio Joubran from Palestine.
"Messages the political one which is we deserve to be normal one like human being so we should give this messages to the people. May be the people don't know about the Palestine, we give small message about Palestine," said Adnan Joubran, Le Trio Joubran member.
"70 people will play the gong, not only on the stage, we will play along with the audience. Our musicians will be amongst the crowd and dance with them. That's tonight's highlight," add Narawi Rashidi, Sarawak Percussion Ensemble member.
Sarawak Tourism Minister, Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg believes the popular festival will continue to be a mainstay in the state's annual tourism programme.
This is because the event, organised by the Sarawak Tourism Board, has been well received year after year by revellers who come from around the world to be immersed in its rich cultural diversity.
"Expect is to improve than last year because last year 21,000 so this year it could be over 22,000 based on the first day attendance," said Datuk Amar Abang Johari.
To ensure the festival, which also emphasizes on the importance of environmental conservation, would stay fresh with the crowd, fringe events, such as performances by buskers will be held in the city starting next year as a prelude to the RWMF.
Apart from the musical acts, the festival also features a number of workshops for the public on various cultures, musical genres, dances and instruments presented during the live shows as well as local delicacies, art and handicrafts.