Amid the heightened security measures implemented across the city following the July 17 hotel bombings, top bands and musicians are sticking to their promise to come to Jakarta next month for the country's biggest rock festival.
Scheduled to run from Aug. 7 to 9 at the Ancol Theme Park's Carnaval Beach in North Jakarta, the 2009 Java Rockin' Land will boast dozens of top international rock bands, including Mr. Big, Melee, Vertical Horizon, Secondhand Serenade and Third Eye Blind.
Festival organizer Java Festival Production (JFP) announced Monday it had received confirmations from all the invited foreign-based bands for the show.
"Right after the bombings, they *the managements of the bands* contacted us and shared their concerns about the safety of their artists," JFP media relations officer Nirmala Hapsari told The Jakarta Post.
"However, after learning in detail about our security plans, all of them agreed to come to Jakarta."
To ensure the bands' safety during their stay in the capital, Nirmala said JFP would provide 24-hour security guards. Additional personnel from the Jakarta Police have also been arranged to back up security at the location of the show.
"Some bands even said they would bring extra security for backup," she said.
"Maybe that'll make them feel more secure."
Two bombs ripped through the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Kuningan, South Jakarta, on July 17, killing at least nine people and injuring more than 50. The attacks have raised concerns over the government's ability to prevent acts of terror and protect the safety of citizens and visiting foreigners.
Hours after the blasts, English football club Manchester United announced it would drop Jakarta from its Asian tour itinerary. The team had been due to stay at the Ritz-Carlton.
A week later, US-based stage entertainment producer Feld Entertainment cancelled its production of Disney's High School Musical: The Ice Tour show, scheduled for July 24 to 31, also for security reasons.
Within three days of the blasts, occupancy rates at city's five-star hotels dropped from an average 70 percent to 60 percent. Foreign visitor arrivals at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport outside Jakarta dropped from 2,680 on July 17 to 1,848 on July 19.
However, occupancy rates and visitor numbers have bounced back in the past week.
Jakarta Culture and Tourism Agency head Arie Budhiman said no more cancellations of major events in the capital were expected this year.
"If a supportive atmosphere the one we have today continues, I'm sure no event organizers will find it difficult hosting successful festivals in the city," he said Monday.
Besides the Java Rockin' Land concert, other upcoming international festivals include the 11th Jakarta International Film Festival (JIFFest) and the 11th Jakarta International Jazz Festival (Jakjazz). Both are scheduled for December.
Last year, the JIFFest screened 138 movies from 24 countries and attracted 28,000 visitors. The 2008 Jakjazz drew more than 16,000 jazz enthusiasts. (hwa)