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Faithful Warpaint fans stand out in subdued crowd at We The Fest

Gisela Swaragita
Gisela Swaragita

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Tue, July 23, 2019  /  02:51 pm
Faithful Warpaint fans stand out in subdued crowd at We The Fest

Psychedelic rock band Warpaint perform at We The Fest 2019 at JIExpo Kemayoran, Jakarta, on Sunday, July 21. (JP/I Gede Dharma JS)

A 25-year-old freelancer from Cirebon, Wawan Gentar Setiawan, might be Warpaint’s biggest Indonesian fan – and he made sure the group was aware of his existence.

Wawan traveled from his hometown to Jakarta to see his idols on day three of We The Fest 2019 at JIEXPO Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, on Sunday.

“I sold many things to afford the train tickets from Cirebon to Jakarta. Thankfully, I got free tickets to the festival from the band’s own manager,” he proudly told The Jakarta Post in a mosh pit in front of the stage where the band performed.

When psychedelic-progressive rock band Warpaint first came to Indonesia on Feb. 17, 2017 in Istora Senayan, South Jakarta, Wawan won a meet and greet with the four musicians. He took a night train from Cirebon and slept on a pedestrian bench at Istora before meeting members Emily Kokal, Jenny Lee, Theresa Wayman and Stella Mozgawa. During the meet and greet, he gave the four women watches that he made himself. He said the gift made it so that they would remember him even after they left the country.

Since the meeting, Wawan has kept in contact with Warpaint’s manager and photographer, Robin Lanaanen.

“When We The Fest announced that Warpaint was part of the line-up, I quickly contacted Robin. She gave me two free tickets to the festival, thankfully, because otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to afford the tickets,” he said.

We The Fest is one of the biggest music festivals in Southeast Asia today and has earned a reputation for being too expensive for most Indonesians. This year’s cheapest daily pass cost Rp 680,000 (US$48.75), not including services and taxes. Every year, festival enthusiasts are scammed by ticket sellers who claim to be selling We The Fest passes at lower prices. This year was no exception, though luckily not for Wawan.

With free tickets from the idols themselves, Wawan found himself a front row spot at the Warpaint stage, carrying with him a Warpaint flag that he made himself.

When the four women stepped onto the stage, Wawan screamed in excitement, just as if he was seeing them for the first time. However, his enthusiasm stood in stark contrast to others – mostly young girls – in the audience, as they were waiting for the next act, Cigarettes After Sex.

When We The Fest made an Instagram post announcing Warpaint in the line-up earlier in May, the post was full of comments indicating that most festival-goers had no knowledge of the group. Comments such as, “Is this Nippon Paint band or what”, triggered angry responses from faithful fans defending their niche idols.

Nevertheless, the diehard fans were there and screaming from different parts of the stage grounds, with many directing their shouts of fandom toward bassist Lee.

The band started with “Bees”, a song from its 2010 album The Fool. Wawan’s broken English did not stop him from singing his heart out while waving his flag.

The four indie rockers followed with “Heads Up”, a song from their 2016 album Heads Up, and continued with “Stars”, a ballad from The Fool. 

More of the audience started to sing along when newer hits were played in “White Out” and “Love is to Die”. 

Throughout the show, Wawan did not stop singing along. He even hummed along to the guitar parts and professed his adoration for Lee in between songs.

Read also: Pamungkas concludes local talent stage on second day of WTF19

Warpaint continued with older hits “Undertow” and “Elephants”, then played “So Good” from Heads Up. 

It concluded the show with upbeat singles “New Song” and “Disco”, in which Kokal stepped on top of giant speakers in front of the audience and danced.

They waved goodbye to their fans then quickly disappeared behind stage after, not giving the encore the audience asked for.

Warpaint's We The Fest set list was much shorter than its 2017 concert and, as its fans were scattered throughout an otherwise calm audience, the experience was perhaps not as wholesome. However, for hardcore fans like Wawan, it did not matter.

When his idols disappeared from the stage, Wawan too was nowhere to be seen.

Later the next day, Wawan told the Post via text message that he had met with Warpaint backstage to take pictures and tell them how happy they made him. (mut)

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