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Surakarta International Gamelan Festival slated for August

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Wed, July 25, 2018  /  01:30 pm
Surakarta International Gamelan Festival slated for August

Various iconic sites around Surakarta, Central Java, are set to host assorted events scheduled throughout the festival.  (JP/Stefanus Ajie)

Surakarta in Central Java is set to welcome world-class gamelan (traditional orchestra) maestros with the International Gamelan Festival on Aug. 9-16.

According to, around 19 gamelan groups from abroad, 33 local groups, as well as dozens of academics specializing in Indonesia’s traditional orchestra are expected to participate in the festival. 

Various iconic sites around the city are set to host the assorted events scheduled throughout festival, in which visitors are more than welcome to participate, said Surakarta Tourism Agency marketing head Kristina.

"It's open for the public to enjoy and it's free," Kristina added.

Here are several of the events planned for the festival:

1. Performances

Six performances are scheduled for the 2018 International Gamelan Festival, which is themed  Homecoming.  These include the opening ceremony, Konser Gamelan Rakyat (People's Gamelan Concert), Konser Keberagaman Gamelan (Gemelan Diversity Concert), Konser Kelompok Mancanegara (Foreign Groups Concert), Konser Utama (Main Concert) and Konser Gamelan Kraton (Kraton Gamelan Concert). 

2. Conference 

In-depth discussions will be held at a conference titled "Gamelan Culture: Roots, Expression, and Worldview", covering issues related to the history and spread of gamelan, its intercultural interactions, sociopolitical context and interests, as well as the environment, society and local culture related to its musical instruments. 

The discussions will be broken down into different themes throughout the conference. They are going to be held daily at the Institute for Research and Community (LPPM) Service of the March 11th University. 

Read also: Where to dine like a royal in Yogyakarta, Surakarta

3. Exhibition

An exhibition taking place on Aug. 10-15 at the Central Java Cultural Park's galleries will showcase a collection of music albums, photographs, books and special gamelan instruments, as well as other related items, such as costumes and music scores. 

The exhibition aims to convey the festival's message on raising awareness about the history, the expression and spirit of the gamelan throughout the centuries and its various artistic influences. 

4. Book launches

Several books related to the world of gamelan is set to be launched during the festival, including biographies of prominent figures crucial to the orchestra’s development, as well as research results on the issue.

The event is scheduled for Aug. 10, starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Central Java Cultural Park's Pendopo. 

5. Film screening 

Film screenings and discussions will feature guests such as film composers Djaduk Feriyanto and Toersi A. 

Among the films set to screen include Lahirnya Gatotkaca (The birth of Gatotkaca, 1985) by Djaduk, Dongeng dari Dirah (Folktale from Dirah, 1992) by Sardono W Kusumo and Bulan Tertusuk Ilalang (Punctured Moon, 1995) by Garin Nugroho.

Screenings are slated to take place at the Solobaru Hartono Mall Cineplex and Omah Sinten. 

6. Literature

In the festival’s literary program, visitors can learn to write short stories, poems, essays and reports on gamelan

Writers are also invited to submit their work, which would be compiled and curated to be made into a book. 

The program aims to provide writers and literary fans a platform to appreciate gamelan, as well as encourage the younger generation to be caretakers of gamelan through writing. (liz/wng)