Festivals in Jakarta; in the Midst of Honks, Floods, and Smartypants

Submitted by viravira on 19 October 2010   •  Blog

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We’ve been asked quite a lot by travelers about where to go in Jakarta. Honestly, it’s been a riddle even for ourselves. It’s a huge chaotic city, which isn’t very touristy, despite some traditional objects you might be interested in spread throughout the traffic jam tangle.

However, we just realized that in these last several years there have been a couple of interesting annual events and festivals in Jakarta that you may want to see. They’re not very traditional, they even embrace foreign participation. And these are not all, but only the ones I’m quite familiar with.

– JIFFEST (Jakarta International Film Festival)
A festival that screens mostly independent films from all over the world with various themes. Usually it’s held toward the end of the year, around November and December. They always collaborate with foreign countries’ culture centers in Indonesia. The films are screened for free or for relatively low fare in commercial theaters and in the culture centers’ auditoriums. Unfortunately, this year’s JIFFEST might not be happening due to lack of funding, hence there’s now a Save JIFFEST movement as you can see here http://2008.jiffest.org/savejiffest/

– Salihara Festival
Held in the Salihara Community that’s based on the Salihara Street, South Jakarta, it is a festival that brings together Indonesia’s best art performances, along with some international ones as well. The performances include contemporary dance, theater plays, music, alongside with painting exhibition, food festival, and many more. The news has it that it may be held biennially starting this year. The length of the festival differs each year, so does the month in which it happens. So bookmark this link http://salihara.org/en/ to check out their upcoming schedule.

– JIJJF (Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival)
It started from a jazz-loving businessman. Now, the event that’s more casually called as Java Jazz, is seeing its 7th year on March 2011. Though it’s got Jazz in its name, it doesn’t only cater music performances for jazz lovers. Jason Mraz and some Indonesian rock bands have performed there, as well as Babyface, John Legend, The Manhattan Transfer, Indonesian jazz artists such as Indra Lesmana and Andien, and so many others. Usually it’s scheduled in the first trimester. Check out this page for the upcoming one http://javajazzfestival.com/2011/

– JRL (Java Rocking Land)
Only about 10 days ago the second JRL was held. For both times it’s held in Taman Jaya Ancol’s Carnaval Beach, an outdoor area, which I think is perfect for a rock themed event. Last year’s headline included Mr. Big, this year’s included Smashing Pumpkins, Stereophonics, Dashboard Confessional, and Wolfmother, not to mention the great Indonesian rock performers like Pas Band, /rif, Kikan, Candil, and a lot more. The first JRL last year was held in August, but this year’s was in this month, October. Watch out for the (possibly) next one. Their website, http://www.javarockingland.com/ hasn’t said anything about the next one yet, but you know, just bookmark it, just in case.

Travel Indonesia: Jakarta

There are actually a lot more interesting events held in Jakarta throughout the year, but these are the ones that’s come to mind so far. So, when your route to go to Bali, Sulawesi, or other places in Indonesia requires you to stay overnight or a couple of days in Jakarta, don’t forget to find out what’s hot and happening in the city that sleeps really really late.


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