Virtual Borneo Jazz records new highs

Borneo Jazz Festival (one of the longest-running jazz festivals in the region) broke its own record this year, garnering more than 116,000 online viewers from 33 countries as the festival went virtual this time for its 16th edition.

The number is an accumulation of figures from viewers logged on to the BJF website, social media platforms, TVS, and Shopee Live to watch and be part of the three-day virtual journey filled with jazz, jazz, and more jazz!

Join Borneo Jazz Memories 2021 for FREE this weekend


BJF – Miri’s iconic event

“This iconic event, which has helped raise Miri’s profile as the Northern gateway to Sarawak since its inception, has gone from strength to strength, and now we are very proud to see that it has found its way to a much broader audience and provided our Sarawakian artists an even bigger platform for their artistry to be recognised around the world,” said Datuk Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak on the festival.

“The increased participation and the element of online engagement we received for Borneo Jazz Festival 2021 has given us a new baseline and will help us better gauge how we can best develop next year’s edition which is scheduled to be held 24-26 June.”


Three days of Jazz music

Usually held over two days, this year’s BJF, themed ‘Borneo Jazz Memories: A Virtual Journey ran for three days. The virtual festival saw Sarawakian artistes performing in pre-recorded sessions in between exclusive interviews with seasoned jazz veterans like Singapore’s ‘King of Swing’ and Asia’s Jazz Superstar Jeremy Monteiro; Dave Brewer of Dave and the Doodaddies; and John Hammond.



Meanwhile, the Rainforest World Music Festival recorded approximately 140,000 viewers from 80 countries through the RWMF website and social media platforms, as well as through TVS and Shopee Live. 

“The number of viewers from around the world is a testament to how well-loved and relevant these iconic events are. We are very happy to be able to reach out to the fans of these iconic festivals from their individual screens, and we hope to see the end of the pandemic soon so that we can continue to bring more value-added entertainment to devoted festival-goers,” said Karim.

“Next year’s festival tentatively scheduled for June 17-19, 2022 will be especially meaningful for the RWMF as we will be holding the 25th edition since we first held it in 1998. We hope to be able to celebrate its silver jubilee in a grand way.”


An all-in-one immersive virtual experience

Through the virtual platforms on www.rwmf.net and www.jazzborneo.com, viewers were able to watch the performances, interviews and flashbacks as well as engage in conversation with other online users throughout the 90-minute events. On top of that, viewers were also able to enjoy the shows on TVS, buy official merchandise from Shopee Live as well as order food and receive discounts from GrabFood. 

Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) decided to put the two iconic events on the virtual platform this year with the aim to maintain the fanbase for RWMF and BJF, in preparation for a post-pandemic return to normalcy. The use of digital media in doing this was not just to create a concert, but to recreate the feel of a festival by providing viewers with ways to engage and interact with each other, as well as to reach out to new audiences both locally and from around the world.

“We are greatly encouraged by the success of the virtual format of RWMF and BJF this year to consider adding digital elements to future editions as we strive to find new ways to enrich our audience’s experience and engagement next year. A physical concert can never be matched when it comes to the vibes you get from a crowd or a musician on stage, but with a hybrid event we will be able to achieve both a greater reach as well as give our audience the feeling of the rhythm and the concert ambience,” it said.

The virtual experiences of both RWMF and BJF were streamed via Shopee Live, giving access to millions of households across the country to enjoy the showcase from the comforts of their own homes.  Meanwhile, viewers and fans of both festivals can still purchase official merchandise from Sarawak Tourism Board’s official shop in Shopee. Among the merchandise are Limited Edition T-shirts, Limited Edition Batik Linut Face Mask, Limited Edition Printed Batik Face Mask, and other attractive products.

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