The Jakarta Post
With the exceptionally comfy green grass on the archery field of Gelora Bung Karno sports complex, where the two-day Joyland Festival was held, the event was most joyful while horizontal. (JP/Donny Fernando)
“I know you Jakartans are dumbfounded seeing this nice grass, making you just want to lie around,” The Adams' guitarist Saleh Husein said during the band's set on the second day of Joyland Festival on Sunday.
Seeing numerous people lying on their backs during The Adams' powerful set must be such a rare view. However, it was undeniable that with the exceptionally comfy green grass on the archery field of Gelora Bung Karno sports complex, where the two-day event was held, Joyland was most joyful while horizontal.
“Get up, don’t be lazy!” festival attendee, 23 year-old Adelya Intan Leksono, told her boyfriend Dennis Rahardian Nugroho, 22, who lay beside her. She then took his hands and they danced to The Adams’ hits “Waiting”, “Hanya Kau” and “Halo Beni”. Torn between staying on the ground or dancing to the familiar songs, Adel and Dennis’ friends also got up from their patch of grass not long afterward. The group had a good time dancing around holding hands during “Konservatif”.
Not only attendees but performing artists also enjoyed the event while lying down. Efek Rumah Kaca’s bass player, Poppie Airil, shared a photo of himself enjoying the performance of Canadian pop group TOPS on the Saturday afternoon from his cozy spot.
Over the weekend, young people were seen lying around in groups or running around playing with the colorful balloons in the exceptionally nice weather amid the rainy season.
It was drizzling a bit on Sunday evening just after the dusk prayer break, but it stopped immediately. Afterward, a faint scent of incense hung around some corners of the venue for a few minutes and the event continued, uninterrupted.
The whole atmosphere of Joyland Festival was indeed a breath of fresh air compared to cigarette-sponsored festivals that dominate the country's music event industry. (JP/Donny Fernando)
There were reports that Plainsong Live, the event’s organizer, had hired a powerful rain shaman to guarantee fine weather during the event.
Photographer Tampan Destawan has posted on his Instagram account the presence of the said rain shaman doing rituals just before the gates were opened on the first day of the festival on Saturday.
Music journalist Raka Ibrahim, who was seen attending the Sunday show, praised the event’s professionalism even after its five-year absence.
“Joyland came back with a prime concept and neat execution,” he told The Jakarta Post. “Attendees, please don’t run amok and burn stuff. If there’s nothing wrong, you don’t have to ask for a refund. Dance. Tomorrow is Monday. You can sleep at the office,” he said.
Raka was referencing two music festival disasters that happened in November, namely Lokatara Festival on Nov. 23 and Musikologi 2019 on Nov. 30. International headliners The Drums, Sales, Alex TBH, Gus Dapperton, Great Good Fine OK and Sophie Meiers canceled their performances at Lokatara within 24 hours before their scheduled sets, triggering attendees' angry requests for refunds.
One week afterward, clumsy execution led to one error after another at Musikologi. Headliners Fourtwnty and Feel Koplo canceled their performances after an extreme schedule delay and electricity outage, triggering attendees to start rioting, burning and looting the committee’s property.
Read also: Joyland Festival to return in December
Compared to the two disastrous festivals, Joyland is a breath of fresh air.
Not only for young adults but attendees also got to enjoy the festival with children. Wina, an attendee from East Jakarta, came with her toddler niece.
“We got here at around 5 p.m., and I haven’t stopped chasing her around playing balls,” Wina said cheerfully.
Wina also praised the event’s dedicated smoking area at the far end of the venue, making the rest of the venue smoke-free and cigarette butt free.
“Everyone is very civil, I also don’t see anyone litter,” Wina said.
Joyland’s whole atmosphere was indeed a breath of fresh air compared to cigarette-sponsored festivals that dominate the country’s music event industry. Sponsored by the Association of State-Owned Banks (Himbara), Plainsong ensured Joyland would be a child-friendly, family-friendly space, complete with almost kindergarten-ish art direction.
The lineup curatorial should also be praised as Plainsong courageously brought only segmented acts as headliners. Washed Out, an American chillwave pioneer that headlined the first day, only has 1 million listeners on Spotify. The second day’s headliner, indie darling Frankie Cosmos, only has 500,000 listeners.
American musician Greta Kline, also known as Frankie Cosmos, enlivens the Joyland Festival in the archery area in Senayan, South Jakarta, on Dec. 8. (JP/Donny Fernando)
The exclusive curatorial consequently brought an exclusive audience, which led to a noticeably unjammed festival. This, though, only led to a spacious, enjoyable event, which is preferable compared to jam-packed festivals that make even the most extroverted person dizzy amid the large crowds.
However, there is still room for improvement if Joyland is to come back with a similar concept next year.
Many attendees said they had secondhand embarrassment during standup comedian Kiky Saputri and Aci Resti’s set at standup comedy corner curated by comedian Soleh Solihun.
“Next time if they want to have a standup comedy show, the comedian should not bring up vulgar material mentioning sexual things. There are many children around!” Adel said.
There were also downsides with regard to technicalities. Frau’s supposedly intimate and peaceful set on Saturday was interrupted by a leaking sound from outside stages, making it hard to enjoy her calm songs.
Nevertheless, Joyland Festival 2019 brought joy to attendees, especially those who are somewhat claustrophobic and like practicing earthing while enjoying a sonic experience from exclusively curated musical acts.
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