Yogyakarta Arts Festival – 2014

In Academic Writing class, we were asked “What is the key to happiness?”. For me, it’s all about being grateful. To find things to be thankful about everyday can bring joy. Cliché, I know, but it speaks even through the hardships. When you find reasons or moments to be grateful in difficulties, you’re right on the happiness cycle. I’m so thankful for being here, for my family, surrounded by good friends…..and this event right here.

The Amphitheater

Festival Kesenian Yogyakarta (FKY) or Yogyakarta Arts Festival is an event held every year, inviting thousands to relish in its festivities that has different themes every time. This year it’s held at the Pasar Ngasem area near the Royal Palace or Kraton. Going into the venue, you could see people swarming in, but dodging and slipping through the crowd is very much worth it.

A local band      - photo credits to my friend Fahma Inayah.
FSTVLST, a local band – photo credits to my friend Fahma Inayah.
The bassist from a band called Answer Sheet - photo credits to Fahma once again.
The bassist from a band called Answer Sheet – photo credits to Fahma once again.

The concept this year is “Dodolan” which is a Javanese word, having two meanings that sums up the whole uniqueness and character of the festival this year. On one side it means “to sell” and the act of “leisure”, “playing” and “visiting”. I was greeted by a big ampitheater  various kiosks selling local products or handicraft, secondhand food, and even a Pizza corner that serves this Italian dish with Indonesian style toppings.

However, that just skims the surface as the festival holds several other events that benefits the community. FKY is a cultural event, a carnival and an art markets topped with events such as educational workshops about art and culture, performances staging literature, traditional music, a Tamansari cinema that proudly screens films made by Jogja’s creative youth, to an event that invites 15 local visual artists to mingle and have fun in a cookout.

This festival displays the richness of art that not only Jogja but Indonesia has as a collective culture where it’s all about getting together and relish in the moment. The festival not only shows traditional art but the contemporary with local bands that would occasionally graze the amphitheater. It makes me proud of how music is progressing here with musicians that can provide good tunes that stands out with an Indonesian flair.

To me, this event is not like any other and my words may not be able to explain how amazing it is. But experience could. So, in case you missed it or should you find yourself in Jogja, pay a visit to the festival and see the joy that arises in opening ourselves with the simple appreciation of our own culture and everything that comes with it.