Festival Mata Air takes shape

Kath Ellis

Only two days until the street parade through Salatiga that marks the start of the Festival Mata Air, and I’m getting a bit excited.

Last Friday I rode up again for the second of three weekends. The conditions were pretty challenging, with the mountain pass enveloped in cloud and visibility very poor. Cresting hills without knowing which direction the road will take on the other side is best approached slowly.

On Saturday I helped out at the Secretariat of TUK, the organization holding the Festival. The bumping in to the site is taking place as I write, so the weekend was all about finishing off the installations. I was delighted to be able to help Kath Ellis (in the photo, left) construct a stand for a massive lantern she’s built that will (we hope) float atop one of the pools at Senjoyo.

The folks at TUK are all volunteers and it’s a wonderful atmosphere around the Secretariat and at Vanessa and Rudi’s house, where a lot of the administrative work gets done. Of course there’s all the normal stresses associated with deadlines and collective activity, but in a spirit that I’ve only ever come across in association with volunteer work these stresses are handled in an entirely amicable way.

I have my Hanoman costume ready, and Vanessa has located a stock of white face paint. The costume, you see, comes with a small mask that sits over my cheeks and jaw, with white fur and some lips and teeth. However it’s a little uncomfortable, particularly the wires that hook over my ears. So, instead, I’ve grown my beard and will use the face paint to whiten it.

I’ve been working out set lists and so forth, and with any luck will be prepared for my set on Sunday night!

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