The volunteers behind the musicians at RWMF
The Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) would not go smoothly without the sweat and hard work of at least a hundred volunteers who signed up for this year’s edition of the music fest.
These volunteers contributed their skills as liaisons officers for performing artists, schleppers to handle musical instruments, event marketing and event operation management.
The Borneo Post SEEDS grabbed a few of them for a quick interview to know what goes behind the scene of volunteering during RWMF.
A chance to learn about other cultures
For fresh graduate Brendan Chin, his experience volunteering as the Liaison Officer (LO) for Geng Wak Long from Kelantan was something to remember.
According to Brendan, working with the band was an enjoyable experience as the band members were friendly and very easy to get along and that he did not have any trouble working with them at all.
“I learned about their culture and I know that their dance and music are very much influenced by the Thai people,” he added.
Brendan said he would definitely volunteer again, preferably with bands outside Sarawak because as a Sarawakian himself, he feels that he could learn so much about other cultures outside his native home.
Learning our local musical culture
“The important thing is experience,” said local volunteer Bong Chun Lin, an upper six student when asked why he signed up as an LO.
Three months ago before the Rainforest World Music Festival 2014 (RWMF), Bong signed up as a volunteer from STB as he felt that it would be a great opportunity for him to learn about cultures and also to gain experience.
While it was a bit tricky taking care of the older members of Lan E Tuyang (a Kenyah band) mainly because they had difficulties getting around SCV, Bong said he really learned a lot from the band members like their musical instruments.
Due to his experience with a local band, Bong has developed an interest in sape music and in the future, he hopes to volunteer again especially with another local band.
Making new friends, forging old bonds
“Nothing hard really, just hard labour. I would totally do it again, it’s fun,” said Swinburne student Nicholas Ho.
According to Nicholas, this was his second year volunteering with RWMF. The first time he joined as a schlepper was a year before when he found out about the volunteering job from a friend.
“The first time was really fun, I had a lot of fun and made new friends, and also got to bond closer with my old friends.” he added.
Hard manual labour? Totally worth it
“I managed to have fun in between doing my work. Don’t focus too much on the hard labour because it’s going to wear you down and so we just have a bit of fun here and there,” said Swinburne student Wilson Ting who is on his semester break.
Even though it was hard manual labour, Wilson said the whole experience was enjoyable as he got to listen and enjoy good music as well as make new friends.
When asked which band he loved listening to during the concert, he listed down three bands; Kalakan of Basque, Jamie Smith’s Mabon of Wales and Blackbeard’s Tea Party of United Kingdom.
Volunteering for the first time, Wilson said that he found out about the volunteering work from a friend who was also a volunteer.
Exploring passion for music and bonding with musicians
The 19-year old first year Mechanical Engineering student from Swinburne University, Kuching was also volunteering for the first time.
Lee said, “I heard of Rainforest World Music Festival before I came here, I’m from KL actually and I always have been interested in music. I wanted to volunteer last year but it clashed with my exams.”
For him, getting up close with the musicians and taking photos with them was the best part of his volunteering work as a schlepper.
Of all the performers that performed during RWMF, Lee shared the band that gave him goose bumps with their music was none other than Kalakan from Spain.
Volunteering as a schlepper, Lee said his work include carrying musical instruments to where they needed to be.
When asked whether he had broken any instruments so far, Lee laughed saying, “No and hopefully never!”