What to expect: Rainforest Fringe Festival 2018

Exciting performances, impressive exhibitions and a whole lot of fun celebrating Sarawak’s rich culture

By Time Out KL editors |

After a successful debut last year, the Rainforest Fringe Festival returns to Kuching, Sarawak this July 6-15. Organised by the same people behind the highly anticipated annual George Town Festival, this ten-day celebration of Sarawak’s arts, history, music, food, culture and more will see plenty of performances, exhibitions, installations and events by both local and international artists.

Here’s what you should be checking out at the festival. For the full list of programmes, head to rainforestfringe.com.

At Adau Group
Photo: Rustic Photography

First People Party

The First People Party honours orang asal, or ‘the first people’, with a night of unique performances. Australian duo Electric Fields are known for their mix of electric-soul music with indigenous nuances; Sarawak’s At Adau is an experimental world music band combining the sape (a type of lute) with traditional and modern instruments from around the world; and Pete Kallang is known for his deep, soulful voice and engaging live performances.
Black Box, Borneo 744. Jul 7, 9pm.

Rainforest Fringe Festival 2018 - Tattoos
Photo: Chris Rainier


This photography exhibition by National Geographic Society Fellow, Chris Rainier, showcases a collection of images focusing on tribal tattoos from around the world and what they represent. He has travelled extensively, from the Amazon jungles and Polynesian islands to the Arctic Circle, photographing how the body is a canvas on which local cultures and myths are mapped out.
The Old Courthouse. Daily, 11am-9pm.

Sarawak Culinary Heritage
Photo: Datin Dona Drury-Wee

Sarawak Culinary Heritage

No festival is complete without a tantalising array of local eats! Foodies won’t be disappointed as there will be plenty of ethnic dishes to try like umai (raw fish, chilli, lime, onions); and local produce including the famous kelutut honey and tempoyak. There will also be stalls selling accessories and souvenirs like beaded necklaces and woven baskets by local artisans.
India Street Pedestrian Mall. Jul 6-8, 6-10.30pm.

generic - rainforest

The Rainforest Stories

‘The Rainforest Stories’ are a selection of films and documentaries honouring Sarawakian culture and offer a fascinating insight into the lives and traditions of the locals. Films will be screened in Bahasa Sarawak and English, and though there is no entrance fee, admission is on a first-come-first-served basis. Check the Facebook event page for updates.
Borneo 744. Weekdays, 5pm; weekends, 5pm & 8pm.

Forgotten Beauty
Photo: Tan Wei Kheng/Richard Koh Fine Art

Forgotten Beauty

The portraits in this exhibition highlight the regal personas of Sarawak’s tribal elders, drawing attention to the distinct symbols representing their status within their individual tribes. These include tattoos, stretched earlobes and what they wear. Sarawakian artist Tan Wei Kheng was inspired to create the portraits as tribute to these aesthetic traditions before they disappear in this modern age.
The Old Courthouse. Daily, 11am-9pm.

More to explore