Cities across nation get busy for colorful arts festivals
Slamet Susanto and Ainur Rohmah
The Jakarta Post
A number of arts and cultural festivals are ready to entertain residents and tourists in some cities during the school holidays.
In Yogyakarta, people can enjoy the Yogyakarta Arts Festival (FKY), which special this year as the annual event has been moved from its previous venue at the Benteng Vredeburg museum to the Pasar Ngasem area.
The festival, which is scheduled to last until July 5, takes 'Recreation, a quarter of a century FKY' as its central theme. It presents 66 stalls of creative products, nine booths displaying artifacts from traditional villages and 138 groups of performers.
Visitors, he said, can stroll through the Ngasem traditional market as well as Tamansari village, which pretty much represents Yogyakarta villages.
Yogyakarta Culture Agency head GBPH Yudhaningrat expressed hope that the 25th festival would be able to act as the motor for the local life of the arts.
'The 25th FKY should be able to push the artists' creativity, strengthen Yogyakarta as the city of culture and civilization and steer us away from violent elements,' Yudhaningrat said.
Separately in Semarang, Central Java, the annual Dugderan festival that is held to greet the coming of Ramadhan fasting month is expected to be crowded, with instant traders coming from various cities across the province including Jepara, Kendal, Demak and Grobogan.
The festival is scheduled to be held from June 29 to July 8, presenting a series of programs including Dugderan parade along the city's main streets, encompassing playing grounds, snack bazaars and souvenir exhibitions.
Head of Semarang Municipal Market Agency, Nugroho Joko, said that street vendors selling souvenirs of Dugderan specialties would make the festival merrier.
'To make it orderly, the vendors are asked to register first before operating at the festival,' Nugroho said on Wednesday.
He said his agency has also cooperated with the Municipal Manpower and Transmigration Agency to monitor the playing grounds and the Health Agency to monitor the food and beverages sold at the event. 'This is to provide safety for visitors.'
The tradition of conducting Dugderan festival, according to Nugroho, dates back to 1881 and deals with the differences at the beginning of the month of Ramadhan according to the Islamic calendar, which had the potential of creating conflict among Muslims.
Dugderan literally refers to the sounds of drums and cannons that marked the beginning of the fasting month. The festival has the mascot of Warak, which is a mixture of a dragon and a horse.
Meanwhile in Kutai Kartanegara, East Kalimantan, at least eight countries are scheduled to participate in the Erau International Kutai Folklore and Art Festival 2013, to be held in Tenggarong from June 30 to July 7.
Head of Kutai Kartanegara Culture and Tourism Agency, Sri Wahyuni, said the committed countries include Belgium, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Greece, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.
'In total there will be around 170 foreign performers involved,' Sri said.
The festival, according to Sri, will also present Kutai traditional dance, Dayak dance and national dance performed to enrich the festival in the parade, street and stage performances.
Kutai Kartanegara Regent Rita Widyasari said that the main objective of the festival was to promote Indonesia, especially East Kalimantan province and Kutai Kartanegara regency as parts of the 'Visit Kutai Kartanegara Year 2013 program.
Nurni Sulaiman contributed to this story from Kutai Kartanegara
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