The beat of the vibrant capital city, Jakarta, was pounding louder as thousands of music enthusiasts thronged to ISTORA Senayan Stadium in the Gelora Bung Karno Sports Complex on the last weekend of September to experience for themselves the most anticipated Java Soulnation Festival 2012.
Held over three days running, from Friday, September 28, to Sunday, September 30, the festival brought some of the world’s prominent names in popular music including James Morrison, Robin Thicke, Jay Sean, Color Me Badd, Scissor Sisters, and many more. From Indonesia’s own music scene, the festival featured Sandhy Sandoro, Raisa, Dewi Sandra, Ras Muhammad, Calvin Jeremy, and many others. As stated at the press conference on Thursday, the Festival not only presented the “usual” shows as the artists were challenged to come up with something fresh for each of their performances. The shows were held in 4 outdoor stages and 1 main stage inside the Istora Stadium.
The Festival kicked off on Friday afternoon with Calvin Jeremy on the Indosat Stage and Stereo Mantic on the Juice Maverick Stage. As the sun set and more people arrived on the scene, excitement rose at the LA Light’s Main Stage. Five young and attractive Indonesian female singers led by Lala Karmela heated up the scene with a captivating project called the Spice Girls’ Experience, a tribute to the legendary British”s Girl Band: The Spice Girls. Not only did they manage to flawlessly perform Spice Girls’ popular hits such as “Spice Up Your Life,” “Stop Right Now,” “Too Much,” “Viva Forever,” and “Wannabe,” the girls managed to get the audience to sing along and dance with them.
Around 1930 hours West Indonesia Time, the audience at the Indosat Stage was mesmerized by the exceptional vocal skill of the Soulmate Duo. While Wisnu, Indonesian born winner of the 2006 Norwegian Idol, swept the crowd off their feet with his enchanting voice at the Wonderful Indonesia Stage.
Crowds thronged to the main stage and anticipation was high as the legend of boy band, Color Me Badd, was about to perform. Kicking up their performance, the DJ appeared on stage and began to play “old school” classic Hip Hop records from the 90s reminiscent of Color Me Badd “heydays.” Bryan Abrams, Kevin Thornton, and Mark Calderon finally emerged, and the trip to the great 90s pop commenced. “All four love,” “I adore Me Amor,” “Close to Heaven,” “I Wanna Sex You Up,” and other popular hits were played under constant backing vocals from the audience. As a twist, and nostalgia to those bygone days, the guys even put up a special a capela session to showcase their sublime vocal harmony.
Jay Sean managed to get the audience to dance to his unique beat at the LA Lights Main Stage as a perfect close to the first day of the festival.
The second day of the festival saw attractive performances from Indonesian artists Sterocase, Aldisyah, Wizzow Batik Tribe, Tulus, Bubu Giri, Rock N Roll Mafia, and others. An exceptional performance was brought by R&B Singer Dewi Sandra at the LA LIGHTS Main Stadium with her catchy outfit and dynamic singing. Aside from performing her hits, she also managed to sing hits from Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Beyonce. As a surprising encore, she performed an Indonesian “Dangdut” number, “Yang Penting Asyik.”
The special show of the Scissor Sisters became the main highlight of the 2nd day. Jake Shears and his friends truly brought the audience to a constant frenzy that night with their upbeat hits. For a moment, the LA LIGHTS Main Stage was turned into a disco arena where the audience excitingly danced to hit after hit such as “Keep Your Shoes On,” “Inevitable,” “Take Your Mama,” “Running Out,” and “I Don’t Feel like Dancing.”
The final day of the Soulnation festival saw bigger crowds who began to arrive since early afternoon. A special project specially prepared for the festival came at 1700 hours West Indonesia Time. Combining newly-emerging artists with more experienced ones and crossing genres in almost unthinkable fusion, the LA Lights Music project truly took the audience on a wild and fun ride across their musical senses.
While on the Indosat Stage, other fascinating combinations took place involving music and technology. Indonesia’s latest rising star, Raisa, led some thousands of participants from many parts of the country in the first ever digital sing along. Performing the patriotic hymn “Padamu Negeri,” Raisa and other participants were connected digitally via the Internet through various gadgets or laptops.
The Festival came to an end with the sublime performances of James Morrison and Robin Thicke, who managed to entrance the crowd with their hits.
Fully supported by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, the three-day music festival proved that show business and the music industry in Indonesia are once again on the rise. A representative of the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy stated at the press conference on Thursday that the development of the creative industries, especially in the field of show business, has been included in the government’s program with the establishment of the new Directorate for the Development of the Performing Arts and the Music Industry in the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy.
It is expected that in future, the Ministry can support and further participate in this type of event since musical events and performing arts in Indonesia have grown significantly and have contributed to the regional and national economy as well as improved people’s welfare.