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Ari Lasso on furor over canceled concert: 'Something we can all learn from'

Wening Gitomartoyo
Wening Gitomartoyo

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sat, October 19, 2019  /  09:13 am
Ari Lasso on furor over canceled concert: 'Something we can all learn from'

Ari Lasso does a sound check for a performance on the 'Rosi' talk show at Kompas TV, Jakarta, on March 21, 2019. ( K. Adrian Mozes)

Indonesian singer Ari Lasso turned to social media to share his disappointment over a canceled solo concert, which was scheduled to take place at Kota Kasablanka, South Jakarta, on Wednesday night.

On Wednesday afternoon, Ari posted a video of himself on Instagram. He said, “I apologize from the bottom of my heart as I will not be able to perform in the ‘Long Journey’ concert tonight, due to the promoter’s unprofessional conduct. Weeks of preparation have gone to waste. Hopefully, I can make amends by presenting a much better concert.”

In the caption, the singer wrote, “I waited until the last minute to make this announcement as the team and I still had the good intention to wait [for the promoter]. However, there was still no clarification from @rachmatsubakti as promoter.”

Promoters Optimus One and are the organizers of Ari’s solo concerts in three cities, namely in North Sumatra’s Medan on Oct. 13, Jakarta on Oct. 16 and Central Java’s Surakarta on Oct. 27.

In a phone interview with The Jakarta Post on Thursday evening, Ari said he started to become wary when the Medan concert was postponed for technical reasons.

“On the day of the Jakarta concert, just as I was leaving my house to go to the venue, my manager came and explained the situation,” he said. “He and I then discussed the matter with the promoter via telephone and WhatsApp. We found that they hadn’t made the necessary payments and they had no backup plan whatsoever.”

Ari also learned that the promoter team had not showed up at the venue, leaving the production team in limbo. “There was nothing prepared, not even a single bottle of water,” he said.  

The singer said the discussion went on for one hour until 2 p.m. and still the promoter was unable to give any guarantee or solution. “At the time, the venue and the sound system had not been paid for. If we had insisted on holding a concert there, there would have been a risk that the performance could be shut down at any time,” he said.

Read also: Dewa 19 pulls nostalgic heart strings in WTF19

The promoter and Ari’s management team then agreed that the concert could not be held as scheduled. Both parties agreed that the cancellation announcement would be made by Ari on Instagram.

After Ari posted the announcement, the promoter also made a similar one on Instagram. It read, “With a heavy heart, Optimus One announces that the ‘Long Journey’ concert of Ari Lasso is canceled due to technical reasons by the promoter. Information about ticket refunds will be immediately announced and it will be sent out to customers’ emails.”

On Thursday, Ari posted a video on YouTube titled “Ari Lasso’s Concert Canceled, Here’s Why”. In the 14-minute video, the singer inserted clips of rehearsals for the concert as well as explanations from his side.

“We spent one month rehearsing and making the setlist, comprising 27 songs as the concert was to commemorate the 27 years of my career. What broke my heart was especially the fans. Many have come from faraway places like East Java or Kalimantan. But what can I say, the concert just could not take place,” Ari said to the Post.  

On Friday afternoon, promoter Optimus One posted a video on Instagram. Its CEO Rachmat Subakti issued an apology and clarified details of ticket refunds. He stated that full refunds for accommodation costs as well as plane and train tickets would be given to fans coming from outside Jakarta. “We hope to complete all the refunds in two weeks,” he said in the video.

Rachmat also announced that the Medan and Surakarta concerts were postponed until further notice.

Ari hoped the experience was something musicians and promoters could learn from. “Holding an event is more than just making agreements and down payments. Events like [music concerts] should not be taken lightly. The [music] industry is built by numerous passionate people and we wouldn’t want the public to turn to distrust,” he said.

Ari Lasso is regarded as one of the finest male singers in the country. He rose to prominence with pop rock band Dewa19 in the 1990s, along with Ahmad Dhani as the band’s songwriter and keyboardist. The band released four studio albums with Ari until they parted ways in 1999. Ari went on to release six successful solo albums from 2001.

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