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Magelang cultural festival provides platform for artists amid pandemic

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sat, October 10, 2020  /  02:13 pm
Magelang cultural festival provides platform for artists amid pandemic

The 2020 Pinggir Kali Festival in Magelang, Central Java, is hosting wayang workshops to facilitate knowledge transfer from senior artists to the younger generation. (JP/Tyler Blodgett)

The annual arts and culture event Pinggir Kali Festival (Riverside Festival) has returned to Magelang, Central Java, from Oct. 8 to 10, despite the still alarming COVID-19 pandemic.

Unlike in previous years, the 2020 Pinggir Kali Festival is being livestreamed on Komunitas Pinggir Kali’s (Riverside Community) YouTube channel.

Festival organizing committee head Muhammad Nafi said during the opening night on Thursday that the festival was first held in 2014 and since then had always been run in different villages in Magelang.

However, this year, with support from the Education and Culture Ministry’s directorate general, the festival managed to get a venue at Kedu Residency, a former colonial administrative building, on Progo riverside.

This year’s event carries the theme Golek Sanak, which means seeking relatives. Nafi said that the festival aimed to promote social resilience and unity among people, which is in line with the community’s previous campaign.

“We want to unite, we don’t want to be divided,” Nafi said, as quoted by

He added that life would be more difficult when the community was divided, as people would become suspicious of one another.

With regard to the participants, the 2020 Pinggir Kali Festival features 40 art communities from various backgrounds, including four dalang (puppeteers) and 70 artists.

It is also hosting 12 activities, such as cultural discussions and six workshops.

Read also: Dieng Culture Festival to be livestreamed starting Wednesday

Nafi mentioned that the workshops included classes about wayang (traditional shadow puppets), sculpture and video making.

He explained that the workshops sought to facilitate knowledge transfers from senior artists to the younger generation.

Deputy Magelang mayor Sigit Widyonindito stressed the importance of maintaining people’s spirit and empowering the potential of society, particularly in the arts and culture sector, during a pandemic.  

“The pandemic [should not stop] people from creating art. Art and culture are Magelang’s intangible assets and attractions,” he said in a statement.

He also noted the importance of using technology to support activities, saying that in this digital era, there were many means by which arts performances could reach even wider audiences. 

Intuisi Musik Puisi, a performance group that combines music and poetry, was among the opening night’s performers. 

Intuisi Musik Puisi cofounder Munier Syalala told The Jakarta Post on Friday that the Pinggir Kali Festival provided a platform for artists to continue their creative process amid the pandemic.

Munier said that the festival served as a learning tool for artists on how to perform for their audiences via social media.

Based on his experience, Munier felt that he needed to learn and adapt on stage as he could not directly meet the audience.

Speaking about this year’s theme, Munier said that Golek Sanak was an opportunity for self-introspection, especially in the arts and culture field.  “How we retain unity, gotong royong [mutual cooperation] in this unpredictable time,” he added. (jes)


Editor’s note: This article is part of a public campaign by the COVID-19 task force to raise people’s awareness about the pandemic.

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