Indonesia’s wonders wow the crowds in St Kilda
It’s estimated that over 20,000 people attended the Wonderful Indonesia Beach Festival to experience the sights, sounds and tastes of this multicultural nation. Festival-goers were able to sample street food and fusion food from locations all over Indonesia, from Bali to East Java and West Sumatra, while being entertained by a fusion of traditional and contemporary artists.
Crowds were entertained by traditional dancers, Gamelan, Kolintang and Angklung orchestras as well as traditional folk songs and popular contemporary artists such as popular Balinese reggae outfit; Marapu Band.
Well-known author and chef Janet De Neefe, founder and director of the Ubud Food Festival and the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, was on hand to give the audience cooking demonstrations and batik artist Dora Melati was kept busy helping kids make their own batik masterpieces.
There was a wonderful fusion of Australian and Indonesian entertainment, with artists such as the incredibly talented Rizal from Bandung in western Java, who has created a unique instrument combining guitar, didgeridoo and celempung (Indonesian traditional percussion), Blues combo, The Julian Banks Trio, fresh from their success at the Ubud Village Jazz Festival in Bali, jammed with Indonesian artist Cepi Kusmiadi on the Kendang Sunda, a traditional two-headed drum used across many South East Asian countries.
The St Kilda crowds were up and dancing along to traditional Batak folk performers Bonapasogita and really let loose with Balinese reggae outfit Marapu who closed the festival on a high, both Saturday and Sunday evenings.
Throughout the day, festival-goers also had access to where they could book exclusive Beach Fest holiday deals. The festival was the first collaboration between a travel agent and Wonderful Indonesia.
Throughout the weekend, the crowds were encouraged to share their experience on social media, using the hashtag #WIBF17 for a chance to win a holiday to Bali flying Jetstar and staying at the Grand Inna Kuta resort.
The competition is still open to entries until 28th February 2017. For a chance to win, entrants are asked to post their Indonesian moments to their Instagram or Twitter accounts, or to the Wonderful Indonesia AU Facebook page, using the hashtag #WIBF17.
According to Festival organiser Emil Ridwan, from the Visit Indonesia Tourism Office in Melbourne; “the objective of Beach Fest was to give festival-goers a sampling of the many aspects of Indonesia’s multicultural heritage. We want Australians to keep visiting Bali, but perhaps next time, go beyond Bali to those parts of Indonesia still relatively untouched by tourism.”
Indonesia remains Australia’s favourite holiday destination. Between January and November 2016, 1,150,900 Aussies visited the country – a significant increase on the 2015’s 891,976 visits. The Indonesian Ministry of Tourism is hoping to increase this number even further, with a projected 1.816 million visitors expected in 2017.