Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Jakarta holds first-ever kampung festival

At an impromptu event, Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Wednesday hit a gong, marking the opening of Jakarta Kampung Festival, set to be held on Saturday and Sunday in 36 locations across the capital city.

On Wednesday afternoon, dozens of art performers — including ondel-ondel (giant human puppets), Reog Ponorogo dancers, Nyai dancers and traditional Betawi music performers — and Jakarta Kampung Festival committee members made an impromptu visit to City Hall, while there was a spontaneous performance at the City Hall compound.

Jokowi subsequently went outside his office to watch the performance, after which a committee member asked him to hit a gong to officially open the festival.

“In the name of God, I launch the festival,” the governor said.

“This will be the first kampung festival in Jakarta, home to our various cultures with Betawi culture as the host. This festival will display the various colors of Jakarta,” Jokowi said in his impromptu speech. “I was surprised to learn that up to 36 districts would participate in this event. Each kampung surely has its own unique potential,” he added.

Jokowi continued by saying that he hoped Jakarta dwellers, who came from various cultural backgrounds, would be able to live in harmony despite their differences.

Jokowi promised that next year the city administration would hold similar events on a bigger scale.

“We will hold similar events at a provincial level where every kampung can participate; hence, I want to see this year’s event and learn about the potential,” he said.

Jokowi reiterated his commitment to build a new brand for Jakarta, to wipe out its notorious image as a city that was overwhelmed with urban issues like perennial flooding and traffic gridlock.

“I want to show Jakarta’s various colors. I don’t want to think only about developing the infrastructure and economy. I want to develop public and cultural spaces so that Jakarta can become a more cultural city where people live in harmony,” he said.

Jokowi also called on the committee to work with city administration officials at the district and city levels to ensure the success of the festival.

“Please communicate with the district and subdistrict leaders and the mayors so you will gain the support that you need,” he said.

Committee chief Roby Maulana said that hundreds of art performers from all 44 districts in Jakarta will be featured in the festival, to be held simultaneously in 36 districts across the capital. Beside art performances, the festival will feature handicraft and painting exhibitions.

“The locations vary from sports centers, streets, art centers, soccer fields and museum compounds,” Roby said, adding that hundreds of communities were also involved in the event.

“The committee members are volunteers of New Jakarta community and we collected the funding from the residents. So it’s a festival that is made by and for the people,” he said, without revealing the specific budget the committee needed for the event.

“The kampung festival’s theme for this year is ‘from kampung to New Jakarta’” Roby added.

Jokowi has repeatedly expressed his goal to rebrand Jakarta as a cultural city, aiming to hold various events in the capital.

In December, Jakarta will host an International Royal Festival, aiming to invite royals from across the globe to introduce their cultures to the people of Jakarta. (Jakarta Post)

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