The first edition of Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival (KWJF) in 2017 was a great success and ended on a high note. Today, everyone is looking forward excitingly to the upcoming KWJF 2019. The Grand Margherita Hotel, a subsidiary of Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) was the organiser of the Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival as well as the official venue and hotel.
The first of its kind outdoor jazz festival overlooking the majestic Sarawak River saw a lineup of 17 performing groups from 7 regional and international countries. The performers were Jeremy Monteiro and The Asian All-Stars Power Quartet feat Melissa Tham (Singapore), Sheila Majid (Malaysia), Ernie Watts, Lewis Pragasam & Asia Beat feat. John Kaizan Neptune (USA/Japan/Malaysia), Andy Peterson (Malaysia), Balawan Magic Fingers (Indonesia), Abdul & the Coffee Theory (Indonesia), Sri Hanuraga Trio ft. Dira Sugandi (Indonesia), Kunto Aji (Indonesia), Mellow Motif (Thailand), Baihana (Philippines), Shanghai Sisters (Malaysia), Diana Liu (Malaysia), Akoustik Connexion (Malaysia), Jolynn Joelle Chin (Malaysia), Big Band Borneo (Malaysia), and UKBD Band (Malaysia).
Held from 29th to 30th September, KWJF 2017 became the first event to kick-start WAK or What About Kuching 2017, a month-long event spread out all over Kuching with various smaller niche events throughout October. Apart from the jazz performances by the world-class musicians, KWJF 2017 featured a bazaar which saw participation from local vendors. A total of 22 vendors comprising arts and craft, including food and beverage vendors participated in KWJF 2017 Bazaar. The bazaar increased the value of the festival, giving festival goers a more holistic experience, especially tourists, where they were able to purchase local Sarawak wares and food. The bazaar also included booths by non-profit organisations such as SSPCA & Lim Kok Wing, 10 Ringgit Club, Blind Massage Centre and Heart Treasures.
The number of festival-goers to KWJF 2017 was recorded at about 4000, far exceeding the target of the organisers. The jazz festival was a success as it was created as a family oriented event with emphasis given for an audience of all ages. Apart from the entertaining music concerts, the view of the spectacular Sarawak River together with the lively bazaar made KWJF an event to be remembered. KWJF 2019 this year promises to include a greater lineup of performers and a complete event with activities for the whole family to enjoy.