A new international world music conference was announced today, The Borneo World Music Expo. The new event will be held in Sarawak, the state in Malaysian Borneo, where the renowned Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF), is held annually.
The first edition of the Borneo World Music Expo will be held June 24 to 26 of 2013 at Pullman Hotel in Kuching, the state’s capital. Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) is promoting this event to position Sarawak as a potential destination for art, culture and music. The event is to coincide with the RWMF which will celebrate its 16th edition by next year.
“This new event will grow the Meeting & Exhibition market segments related to music through an exposition to be named as the Borneo World Music Expo” says Dato’ Rashid Khan, CEO of Sarawak Tourism Board. “It is the ambition of the Board to grow this event into a world recognized annual exposition for the professionals and trade visitors within the international music scene as part of its transformation strategy to climb the value chain from leisure based events to that of business tourism events” he reiterated.
Total visitor arrivals to the state have increased 9% to 3.27 million tourist arrivals as of 31 October 2012, when compared to the same period last year. Foreign arrivals alone have continued to increase steadily at 16% to 2.13 million during the period. By having more events in the State, STB hope to encourage more tourists to come.
Scheduled to be held a week before the RWMF every year, the expo will integrate a trade fair, musical showcases, conferences, exhibitions and networking sessions which would promote the culture and music. It is specifically designed to expose Asian and ethnic musicians to the international market.
The anticipated expo is supported by Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), an agency established by the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia to further strengthen and position Malaysia as a major events hub for the region. According to its General Manager, Tony Nagamaiah, “the Borneo World Music Expo is a new initiative in addition to the already successful Rainforest World Music Festival. The expo would be the first of its kind to be organized in South East Asia, a melting pot of various different cultures and traditions brought together through music which is to be showcased at the expo.”
Sarawak Tourism Board has appointed Gerald Seligman as the consultant for the Borneo World Music Expo. Mr Seligman is an international music industry professional with over 25 years of experience in both major and independent music and music events companies. He is the President of Caravan Arts Consultancy from which he collaborates and/or consults with events, companies, governmental and non-governmental organizations throughout the world. Until November of 2009, Gerald was General Director of WOMEX, the largest World Music Expo. He was also co-founder and the first chairman of Freemuse, the human rights organization based in Copenhagen, Denmark. He founded and ran EMI Hemisphere, the company’s premier world music label, was head of EMI’s international sector for Strategic Marketing and has produced or compiled over 100 releases, including one with a Grammy nomination.
Alongside this inaugural event, Sarawak Tourism Board will continue to organize another notable fringe event of the RWMF, which is the Rainforest Waterfront Fest. This is a Talent Search contest and is opened to anyone eligible internationally. The finals will be held on the weekend before the RWMF and the winner will be given the honor to share the stage with international renowned artists at the Rainforest World Music Festival.