Sabah Fest 2015: bringing cultural splendor from the east coast

The cultural festival month in Sabah is soon to arrive, and what better to kick it off with Sabah Fest 2015! It will be happening from May 1 – 3, 2015 at the Auditorium of Kompleks JKKN Sabah starting sharp at 8:00pm.

The theme for this year is ‘AGOP’ , that brings you into the stories and legends surrounding Sabah’s caves, intertwined with multitudes of cultural performances.

Sabah Fest always brings something magnificent and captivates its audiences every year, adventures, love story, and sometimes a dash of the funny side. The colourful blend of peoples and cultures is what makes Sabah Fest unique.

Previous Sabah Fest

The Agop

 ‘AGOP’ translates to the word ‘cave’ in the local dialect. Audiences will take a journey to the east coast of Sabah and learn the charms of the local communities – Ida’an, Orang Sungei, Dusun Begak and Dusun Subpan – who identify with the ancient cave culture and related on-going traditions and practices.

Stitched panoramic view of the group photo during Sabah Fest 2015 press conference last week

Stitched panoramic view of the group photo during Sabah Fest 2015 press conference last week

Other rarely seen groups such as the Tidong of Tawau, Dusun Sandayoh of Paitan and Dusun Melangkap of Kota Belud have been invited to perform and display their culture and musical traditions at this year’s Sabah Fest. I have yet to see these ethnic group cultural performances, so Sabah Fest will be a great opportunity for me to witness this.

The musical theatre also highlights the role of Ong Sum Ping from the Ming Dynasty who came across the highly valued birds’ nests and presented them as a gift to the Emperor.

Datuk Masidi at the press conference also note on a love triangle story between Ong Sum Ping, a beautiful local lass and her betrothed. This should be interesting to see too, the story elements is indeed important in a performance show like Sabah Fest.

The love triangle

The love triangle

Got the chance to get a group photo with them too

Got the chance to get a group photo with them too

Local craftmanship showcase and pocket shows

Sabah Fest is also the perfect time see Sabah’s talented craft-makers and artisans at work. Visit Kadaiku – Sabah Souvenirs and Handicrafts at Sinsuran Complex in Kota Kinabalu throughout the month and meet weavers, bead makers, musicians and artists from around Sabah.

You can also purchase art pieces and uniquely Sabahan crafts during the exhibition.  Also, witness the Sabah Fest 2015 Pocket Shows at various shopping malls and locations namely Centre Point Sabah, Suria Sabah, Oceanus Waterfront Mall, City Mall, Sabah Museum and Kota Kinabalu International Airport.

Cultural performers all around district converge in Sabah Fest

Instead of taking the performers from Lembaga Kebudayaan Sabah (LKS) like previous years, Sabah Fest production crew has been taking a large effort to involve cultural performers from various districts.

This includes some 350 people, including 140 performers from 7 ethnic groups who hail from 5 districts around Sabah. From Lahad Datu are the Dusun Subpan from Kampung Segama, Dusun Begak from Tungku and Ida’an from Kampung Sepagaya.

Beautiful Performers

Also represented are the Orang Sungei from Sandakan, Tidung from Tawau, Dusun Sandayoh from Paitan and Dusun Melangkap from Kota Belud; each showcasing their cultural identity through song and dance.

As noted by Datuk Masidi himself, this was an effort to widen the search of new talents from other districts, give them the opportunity to shine and experience performing in a bigger stage.

Sabah Fest is made even grander with a 100-strong welcoming troupe playing the tagunggak and Murut gong as guests arrive. Also performing are 80 dancers from around Kota Kinabalu private and non-governmental organizations, schools and universities, namely Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Universiti Technology Mara (UiTM) and SM Maktab Sabah.

With all that said, I can’t wait to see Sabah Fest 2015!


Tickets for the stage performance are available at RM50 per show. Interested individuals can contact Francesca Lydia, Event Executive, Sri Pelancongan Sabah Sdn Bhd at +6088232121, email, to get further information.

You can also check out the official website at




AGOP – The Heritage of Sabah’s Caves


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