MIRI: The 4th edition of Miri Country Music Festival (MCMF) opened with a thunderclap and flashes of brilliance on Saturday night with over 1,500 festival goers defying stormy skies.
MCMF founder and advisor Gracie Geikie was pleased with the enthusiastic response shown by the die-hard local and foreign country fans, as many fans braved the heavy rain to dance the night away in cowboy gear and leather hats.
“If not for the heavy downpour, there could have been more people coming. The 1,500 is only the wristband count. When it rained heavily halfway during the concert, we just left the gate open without charging those coming,” Gracie told The Borneo Post after the performance.
The opening act of Adi and Maha from Sabah wowed the cosmopolitan crowd with their energetic tunes and songs in English and Bahasa Malaysia. Then famed local Mirians Mountain Wind Band also sang country songs in English and Malay which was instrumental in getting many to join in the line-dance as they played.
However soon after, when James Thompson and the Strange Pilgrims (Australia) started cranking it up, the skies opened up and festival goers ran helter-skelter but still enjoying the performance huddled inside sheds and buildings nearby the stage.
Shane Smith and The Saints (US) managed to revive the momentum, living up to audience expectations, unleashing the energy of the crowd by delivering an incendiary show. Their powerful vocals combined with an energetic performance wooed many fans back to the ground fronting the stage, and dancing under torrential rain.
Many still stayed on to dance when Raggy Project (of Penang) took over the stage for the closing of the nightly performance. Being veterans in the country music scene for the past 50 years and also a favourite in MCMF since 2014, Raggy was able to wow the crowd rendering classic countries including an own composition “Where were you last night?”.
The fourth edition of MCMF, ending on Sunday, was held for the first time over two days since MCMF was introduced in 2014, following popular demand. Besides the nightly performance, other activities held were musical and line dance workshops, bazaar and games.
The festival is organised by Place Borneo Sdn Bhd; endorsed by Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, Sarawak Tourism Board and Miri City Council; supported by several others including Parkcity Everly Hotel Miri, which is the venue of the festival.