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Indonesia Reggae Festival

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It’s a rather late post of an event took place last week, May 21, 2011, due to my hectic schedule preparing the upcoming annual photo award of Anugerah Pewarta Foto Indonesia 2010 –  by the Indonesian Photojournalist Association.

How do I describe this so called first reggae festival in Indonesia? Mixed and colorful.

Started with incredibly corny teaser by Big Mountain on Youtube. I actually liked that Uuh Baby I love Your Way song. But I began to think twice when they change it to Uuh Jakarta I Love Your Way..

Gosh.. C’mon…

Pot in a pot

Went there with two friends and one of the twins. And pay 100.000 rupiah for a ticket. Quite cheap. Considering you’ll be “entertained” by 50 reggae bands from all over Indonesia, and -of course- Big Mountain, which I heard being paid 500 million rupiah for this performance. This is just rumors, and I didnt even bother to check. So dont even think of suing me if am wrong. Just let it go.

50 reggae bands in a festival! Thats quite a lot. Should give us lots of options! Err… yes.. IF they set up a whole area of Jakarta International EXPO Kemayoran with atleast 5 stages! But NOOO… They only have two stages, standing side by side with a big board saying I Love – I Heart (It’s actually said “One Love” on one stage and “One Heart” on another. But my gang thought the sign was saying I Love I Heart – and it reminds us alot of a Korean band wanna be in Indonesia. Gosh, how I Heart them so well..)

Having a band singing 3 songs on a stage, while the next band prepare for the next performance on another stage was an awful idea! Practical but torturing! It was like we were forced to see the whole 50 bands before Big Mountain actually perform! They’re saving some of the best bands in the end, so we have to sing along, dance along and forced to stay where we are until the bands we actually like, finally take the stage.

Would Buddha minds if we dance with Reggae tune, while His devotees in solitude of Vesak Day, right next door?

Then the almost rain situation (we agreed to give standing applause for the miraculous pawang hujan in charge for the event! he managed to cast the big thick dark clouds away!), then the fact that while almost 8000 people are dancing in the we-yooo kinds of tunes, hundreds other people are celebrating Vesak Day in solitude, just a couple of hundreds meters away! Then, our President came to join them and forced us to keep quiet for an hour, while a few moments later, a former governor -out of nowhere- came to our crowd and claimed he’s The Father of Reggae in Indonesia! Grow your hair, smoke pot and move your hands and hips, then we can tell if you’re a reggae man! What a crap! That former governor cant go for presidency, and still far to go to be Indonesian Football Association Chairman, and now claimed to be the father of Reggae? (sighed..)

As it getting dark, the color starts showing. My energy however, ran out.

More and more people with the matted, dreadlocks hairstyle of the Rastafarian, dancing around. Crowds of togetherness. The warmth of the people mostly understood just as a group who use marijuana for sacrament. Where some idiots just enjoy the burning stuffs without understanding the essence of it.

A guy with tattoos, selling merchandise in a corner. I didnt bring my camera, for I went out of the stage area because I wanted to pee. He was trying to sell me some bracelet, neat and colorful. Cheap as 5000 rupiah (not even a dollar). But I just glanced him a smile and said I was just browsing. A man then came with his daughter. And the rastafarian with tattoos, asked the little girl if she wants anything. The 3-4 years old just stand there, then he hummed, “What do we have here for you, little baby..”. I just stand aside and watched him picking a cute colorful bracelet from beads then wear it on the little girl’s wrist. “There… Keep it. A gift for you from uncle”. Oww.. thats cute! Am sort of wondering should I just buy some of his stuff for what he did, or should I just wait until he do the same for me? hehe… I didnt buy anything, for I left my money in the bag with my friends, anyway. So as I walked away, he shouted – in english, “Okay… Have fun! Nice meeting ya!”. Was told I have a nice smile. :p Hope it’s enough to pay his sweet kindness.

Around 10 pm, still no signs of Big Mountain. Or Shaggy Dog, The Paps, Tony Q. Rastafara, and Ras Muhammad.  Instead, un-reggae man, with many devotees, a legend in Indonesia, Iwan Fals himself play the harmonica and his guitar. His persona just wowed the audience. At the stroke of midnight, my sister began to look terribly sleepy, and I felt sorry for her. So I asked my friends (who looked as tired), if we can go back early. Ras Muhammad then take the stage, and while Tony Q is performing, we walked away from the crowd. Leaving about 20 something of my photojournalist friends who use their ID press cards just to get in and enjoy the music. Free pass for all. Not really something to proud of.

Indonesia Reggae Festival 2011 from nickmatulhuda on Vimeo.

As we go for the taxi, i noticed the place for this event was actually well organized. Even though they do smoke some joints in the very very dark place. But they didnt go idiot and screw up the whole event. Either they fell asleep, they’d eat more (cheap food and clean! unlike other music festival! very nice), or dance more. So overall, it went great.

We missed the Big Mountain with its Carribean Blue, Baby I Love Your Way and encore One Love, which I also heard, gave an hour of performance? Thats neat! O well.. We’ll just wait for the next one later this year.


Written by nickmatulhuda

June 1, 2011 at 10:30 am

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