By Rewi Lyall
Festival Mata Air was, as far as I can see, a resounding success. The organizing committee and friends of TUK – all of who gave their time and effort on a voluntary basis – deserve congratulations galore. All of the usual, and some unusual, hitches aside there were no major disasters. Even the weather played its part.
Having ridden through the clouds via Ketap Pass again on the Wednesday evening, I was able to go to a gig at one of the universities in Salatiga, which was a bit of a preview show for some of the Festival acts. The acoustics weren’t that great, but it was still a good introduction for me to some of the performers.
The parade on Thursday was great fun, and the costumes were excellent. Some friends were unrecognizable in their get-up. I skipped out on the dinner at the TUK office on the Thursday, but was up early to help out with the final stages of preparing the site for the opening on Friday night. There were three music areas (two stages and the electronic tent) plus stalls and waroengs.
I spent most of the weekend hanging around the electronic tent, playing a bit throughout Saturday afternoon as house DJ between sets and getting to play a set myself where a gap in the schedule appeared. The standout acts for me on Saturday night were Om Duta and the hip-hop groups Batik Tribe and Kingstone, both joined by featured artist Ras Muhamad on the main stage, and 3 Some From Mars who played at the electronic tent.
On Sunday I had a relatively relaxed start to the day, playing a little in the afternoon before my set at about 9pm. I dressed in my Hanoman costume pretty early, and it was very well received. I managed to get over to the main stage to see Kath Ellis-ism perform, and was pleasantly surprised at how much they rocked. Sometime later that night I said as much to Kath, to which she responded in a manner totally in keeping with her character, ‘Yeah, it’s a funny thing.’
I couldn’t guess how many times I had my photo taken in costume with friends and strangers alike. The music I played seemed to go down pretty well, so I was pretty happy about that. Depending on how things go I may get other chances to play here which would be great.
I made some great new friends over the course of my time in Salatiga, many who live in Jogja and I hope to get to know even better over the remaining months I have here. Others live in Sydney, and I’m hoping to catch them there on my return.
Thanks especially to Vanessa and Rudy for letting me crash at their place and for sharing this wonderful experience with me. Thanks also to the crew from Principle of South for organizing the electronic tent.