Getting Started

Festival Introduction and History

WAK Collaborator Handbook

Hello, potential collaborator!

If you are thinking of joining WAK, this first handbook - Getting Started - is an excellent place to start. Please read it carefully as it will answer all your questions on what we are about and how we can potentially work together.

The second handbook - Collaborator’s Guide to WAK - will be given to successful collaborators with steps on what to do next.

The handbooks are available in PDF format from our website. There are also limited print copies which you can request from About Kuching Sdn Bhd. 


Past WAK programme booklets for reference. Download the PDF copy below.

Festival Introduction and History

Every October since 2017, Kuching turns into a buzzing hub of activity, taking the tail end of the tourist season and stretching it with a series of events spearheaded by the community for the community. We wanted it to be all about Kuching, and we don’t want to keep asking “What about Kuching?” every time an event or tour skips over East Malaysia again.

This was what happened:

In 2017, a team led by the founding festival directors Donald and Marina Tan instigated the numerous communities in Kuching City to come together to stage their respective contents under a common festival umbrella coined as ‘What About Kuching – Celebrate Arts, Culture & Lifestyle”, now better known as WAK.

The name was a happy accident from someone mishearing the list of potential festival names, interjecting with a “What about Kuching?”

What about it indeed.

WAK is a community-driven month-long festival of the arts, culture and lifestyle of the people of Kuching and Sarawak. It happens each October with a multi-genre programme centred in the city of Kuching and radiating outwards towards greater Kuching.

WAK is an ‘OPEN ACCESS’ festival, meaning that anyone and everyone can propose an event they intend to organise and run by filling in a PROPOSAL FORM during the CALL FOR PROPOSAL period from March to May each year.

If you make it through the whole process, you become a COLLABORATOR and join the WAK family.

In its inaugural year, WAK had 75 events registering an estimated footfall of 70,740. During WAK 2018, there were 78 events registering an estimated footfall of 253,983. In 2019, WAK 2019 had 99 events registering an estimated footfall of 260,952.

In 2020, YOU could be part of this homegrown festival.


To celebrate the arts, culture and lifestyle to a global audience thereby creating greater appreciation and support of these amongst the local community.


  • Enhance greater tourism arrivals to benefit the local economy
  • Provide platforms for personalities to showcase their different pursuits
  • Create awareness, educate and garner a greater appreciation of these pursuits
  • Foster regional and international collaborations to elevate local standards 


If you have something to share to a wider audience in the field of Arts, Culture and Lifestyle, we want you!

In past festivals, we have hosted various types of events under the categories of Live music, Conference/Workshop/Sharing, Exhibition, Party, Performances, Social, or Sport. We have seen exciting musicians and bands, dance performances, comedy shows, various types of theatre shows, celebrations of local food and crafts, many art exhibitions, sporting challenges that pushed the limits of the human spirit, a writing retreat, and at least one international conference.

Do you have something that fits? Read on.

How Do I Join?

If you want to join us, read this online handbook thoroughly to understand what it means to become part of the WAK family.
Our ‘Call for Proposals’ is now OPEN! Click here and complete the proposal form. The WAK Management Team will start contacting applicants from April onwards to discuss making your event a reality. The sooner you send your proposal in, the sooner we can work with you!
Don’t have an event but want to get a piece of the action? Be a WAK Ambassador (fondly known as WAKA) and help out at events. Whether your strength is crowd control or ticketing, collaborators (especially first-timers) are always happy to get an extra set of hands.
Visit our website and complete a WAKA form. Our WAKA leaders will get in touch with you soon. The registration period opens in late May or early July.