Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival

27th October, 2017 | Article By Lesley Tan

Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival 2017

This year I was extremely happy to be invited to be on the Media Team for the very first Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival. In a way which I cannot explain, I knew it would be a success from the start. Managed by Place Borneo and hosted at the Grand Margherita Hotel in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia on 29th and 30th September, it was an OVERWHELMING SUCCESS!

The brainchild of SEDC, the SEDC GM and Festival Co Founder Tuan Haji Soerdirman Aini, this festival is now set to be an annual event!

The Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival Team comprises of Gracie V. Geikie (Festival Advisor), and Mona Manap (Managing Director), also Asif Ben Pishori (Music Director), Justin Mark Sylvester (Event Organiser), Ritchie Ramli (Sound, Lighting and Projection) Alcila Abby, Selbenaide Eday Helbat and a whole host of others too numerous to mention but their joint efforts, together with an army of hardworking and eager volunteers, resulted in a festival to be proud of.

Jazz greats came from all over the world and wowed the crowds from the start! Here is the list of performers (in no particular order):

  1. Balawan Magic Fingers (Indonesia)
  2. Lewis Pragasam and Asia Beat Featuring John Kaizan Neptune (USA/Malaysia)
  3. Abdul & The Coffee Theory (Indonesia)
  4. Sri Hanuraga Trio Feat Dira Sugandi (Indonesia)
  5. Kunto Aji (Indonesia)
  6. Mellow Motif (Thailand)
  7. Baihana (Philippines)
  8. The Shanghai Sisters (Malaysia)
  9. Diana Liu (Malaysia)
  10. Akoustik Connexion (Malaysia)
  11. Borneo Big Band Feat Jessel Yansalang (Malaysia)
  12. Andy Peterson (Malaysia)
  13. Ernie Watts and the Jeremy Monteiro Trio (USA)
  14. UKDB Brothers (Malaysia)
  15. Jeremy Monteiro and The Asian All-Stars Power Quartet with Eugene Pao, Tots Tolentino, Hong Chanutr Techatana-nan Featuring Melissa Tham (Singapore/Hong Kong/Thailand)
  16. Jolynn J Chin (Malaysia)
  17. Sheila Majid (Malaysia)

More information on the performers and the festival at Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival’s Web Page.


In the two days there was so much talent to take in that it was quite amazing! There was such a great mix; different kinds of Jazz and performers coming from all over the world, all expertly ’emceed’ by Rene Barrow.

The weather held out for the most part with only a short rain shower in the later part of the second evening, but everyone just pulled out ‘ponchos’ and umbrellas and continued to enjoy themselves.

The Kuching Waterfront is a very scenic area which continues to evolve, an excellent venue to hold the festival with the famous Malaysian sunsets and warm weather to entice festival revelers from all over the world. The main stage was set up by the Sarawak River.

Vendors were invited to sell their wares and there were stalls for local handicrafts, open-air and indoor food courtyards, drinks, Jazz mementos, T-shirts, local paintings and much more. (I HAD to buy a t-shirt to add to my festival t-shirt collection!). There were also activities and games for children.

The whole festival was brilliantly received by the crowds and there was mega audience participation with the local ‘RELA’ keeping a close eye on security!

Many magazines, newspapers and publications wrote informative articles leading up to the festival, and social media shared widely too.  This ensured a wide coverage of details of the up-coming event.

All in all everyone connected to Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival 2017 are at the beginning of many more Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festivals to come.


Written by Lesley Tan (Some Details from Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival web page)

Photos from Lesley Tan, Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival, Rentak Sejuta (Anastasia Doping and Kumaraguru Olaganathan), Primus Lee, Mellow Motif, The Shanghai Sisters, Baihana, Borneo Big Band.

By Lesley Tan

Lesley Tan
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