By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, Aug 9: What About Kuching (WAK) roars into reality with the reveal of the official 2019 Calendar programme booklet at the Old Court House today, featuring a total of 56 collaborations and 99 events which will turn Kuching City into a hub of activities between Sept 28 to Oct 27 this year.
Launched by Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, the calendar programme booklet will be the guide to the WAK Festival, which is driven by the community for the community as they celebrate arts, culture and lifestyle.
“The state government fully supports WAK as it involves the youth to participate in making Kuching a more vibrant, brighter and exciting city,” he said.
“If you are able to make Kuching into a creative and vibrant city where people are exciting and happy, you have done a good job,” he commended.
Abdul Karim revealed that there will be a total of 315 daily events from Sept 28 to Oct 27, making this third edition of WAK the largest one yet.
Since its inception in 2017, WAK has been a true partnership between the public and private sectors, exemplifying its cohesiveness as Sarawakians and patriots of Sarawak.
Now in its third year, WAK 2019 introduces new genres and a wider overall repertoire thanks to its ‘open access’ model, which allows anyone and everyone to participate by submitting a proposal during the ‘call for proposal’ period.
Festival director Donald Tan said this meant that WAK accepts all proposals submitted.
“WAK’s programming is based almost entirely on the proposals received. The ‘call for proposal’ was announced by the Minister on April 15 and closed on June 14. We were thrilled at the number and variety of proposals received, and soon we can all bear witness to this exciting line-up of events in the calendar to be revealed today,” he said.
Tan also announced that WAK has activated its Location X-traordinaire – the building that was once Ting & Ting Supermarket.
He added that the previous and present owners were supportive about the premise being utilised as an art space while it was in transition.
“It will be a venue for a variety of events including the WAK Music Portal and new components such as the WAK Big Jam and WAK Open Mic,” he elaborated.
The synergistic collaborations with visiting guest performers have also resulted in a programme that would be an exciting hybrid of ideas and expressions, with more collaborators coming in from outside Kuching.
Comedy shows proved to be popular, with familiar names such as Joanne Kam, Bibi K Poh, Kavin Jay, the Malaysian Association of Chinese Comedians (MACC) and I Laugh KL to keep the laughs going throughout the month, along with local funnymen SaraLawak.
The theatre has also been taken hold. After their sold-out show ‘Every Brilliant Thing’ during the WAK 2018, Theatrethreesixty is back to premier ‘Lost/Found’ before taking the show to the Peninsula.
Local production house Stars Aligned Theatre will be staging ‘Blank Space’, while Art Street Kuching will be taking their theatre act to the street.
There will also be the Chinese opera for those interested in traditional performances.
Renowned personalities such as life coach Asha Gill, author Gina Yap Lai Yoong and poet Jamal Raslan will also be here to collaborate with local content providers.
Meanwhile, artist/musician Alena Murang and her band will be back to perform SPIRIT, which is an accumulation of 20 years of her work.
The 6th Borneo International Beads Conference will once again bring bead experts and lovers to Kuching, while Swinburne International Festival will be back to feature the rich culture of their international student body.
Closer to home, the Sarawakiana Carnival 2019 will focus on the wonders of local culture with special emphasis on wood carvings.
Where live music is concerned, WAK Music Portal will be featuring bands every weekend, while musical heroes of yesteryear such as Rose Leane and the Young Once, and Hurricane with Lepo Lee will take over the spotlight at a tribute performance aptly titled WAK Forever Young.
For those on the go, events like the Spartan Race Sarawak 2019, Borneo Highlands Padawan Nature Challenge, Sarawak Adventure Challenge and Tringgus Wild Trail Run will keep participants powering through the month towards the finish line.
Tan hoped that WAK will become the regional platform for Southeast Asia and beyond, pointing out that the festival has shown itself to be very strong as a collective.
“The aim is that everyone has ownership of WAK, not just particular individuals. We have already noticed that more young people are stepping up to manage events or components, which is a very positive sign because these youth leaders are the next generation. They will be the ones taking this festival forward,” he emphasised.
The festival Calendar Programme booklet can be obtained for free at various tourist attractions across the city.
For more information on WAK Festival go to Facebook page www.facebook.com/aboutkuching or Instagram @aboutkuching and on Twitter @aboutkuching.— DayakDaily