Monday May 21, 2007
[b]Jazzy vibes resound in Miri[b]
By STEPHEN THEN
A melting pot of global jazz - that was how a tourist from England described the Miri International Jazz Festival 2007 that was held in the Sarawak city recently.
Indeed, that was the most appropriate description. Other superlatives from among the 4,000 visitors who attended the two-day event included fantastic, wonderful and awesome.
The Sarawak Tourism Board and the management of the Miri Parkcity Hotel should be given a standing ovation for the way they had managed to turn this festival into a remarkable musical showpiece.
Though not yet as grand and famous as the Sarawak World Rainforest Music Festival in Kuching, the jazz festival in Miri has the potential to become a major tourism draw for the northern region.
Held on May 11-13 in this resort city, the Miri International Jazz Festival attracted 12 renowned jazz groups from the United States, Latin America, Europe, India, Africa, China and Australia to this northern tourism hub of Sarawak.
Each country seemed to have its own rhythm, dance style and musical instruments.
Frank Morris, a middle-aged tourist from Kent, England, who was on a holiday in Borneo, said he decided to fly to Miri from Kota Kinabalu where he was holidaying to find out if the jazz festival was any different from the ones in Europe.
The festival here is indeed special. You can find so many different jazz groups from all over the world performing on the same stage, at the same venue and at such a cheap price (RM50 per ticket only for the two-day show).
This is like a melting pot of jazz. What colours, what splendid music! It was fantastic to say the least, he added.
The events chairman, Michael Lu, who is the Sarawak Tourism Board Miri branch manager, was ecstatic with the response.
We did not anticipate such a good response. All tickets were sold out. It was a very successful event.
Eclectic: One of the Son2nos musican playing the musical instrument.
The boards chief executive officer Gracie Geikie said the organisers hoped the event would help to highlight Miri, Mulu and Sarawak to a greater global audience so that more tourists will visit.
Other sponsors that helped to make this event a success was Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, Maxis, Astro, Malaysia Airlines and Heineken.
Participants and visitors to the festival took the opportunity to explore the Mulu, Niah and Lambir national parks as well as Miri City during their stay in the coastal city.