March 21, 2008

International Jazz Festivals in Jakarta

If you are fond of jazz music, you will be quite spoiled in Jakarta, since we have 2 annual festivals in this music genre : JakJazz & Java Jazz. Both festivals are usually a 3-day event.

What's the difference between the two?


JakJazz vs Java Jazz

- Founder :

Ireng Maulana (Ireng Maulana is a famous Indonesian jazz musician) vs Peter F. Gontha (Peter Gontha is well known for his business sense. He owns one of Jakarta’s top jazz avenue : JAMZ)

- When held :
Annually (around November/December) vs Annually (first Friday-Sunday of March)

- First time held :
1988 (Although the first JakJazz was in 1988, it only has been held 9 times, the latest in 2007) vs 2005 (Has since consistently been held annually)

- Music Genre :
Mainly Mainstream Jazz vs More variety : Jazz, R&B, Hip-hop, Pop, Rock, Latin etc.

- Type of Event :
Outdoor/Indoor (The last couple of times, it has been held at Istora Senayan) vs Indoor (So far, it has been held at Jakarta Convention Centre)

Last Friday I went to the Java Jazz Festival. Frankly I’m not a big jazz fan. That is why Java Jazz suits me better than JakJazz.

Actually, this is my second time going to the Java Jazz Festival. Last year I went to the festival because I wanted to see what the hype was about. And after going last year, I didn’t intend to go to any other, but this year, the festival conveniently took place on a long weekend (Friday was a national holiday in celebration of Saka New Year). Rather then staying at home or just going to the mall these 3 days, I thought it would be nice to hangout for a day at the festival.

The ticket is a bit expensive for my taste, eventhough if you think about it, it is value for money since with that amount, you are able to see many musicians, both local as well as international. You can choose between buying a daily pass (for 1 day only) or multipass (for all 3 days). The multipass is of course cheaper compared to buying 3 daily tickets. Java Jazz also has special shows. This year it was Bobby Caldwell, James Ingram, Babyface & The Manhattan Transfer (Most of them are not really jazzy, huh?). To see a special show though, you still have to buy a daily pass first & then buy a special show ticket.

Compared to last year, this year the festival was very crowded. (I guess I wasn’t the only one thinking that it would be a good way to spend the long weekend). I actually found it a bit difficult to move from one stage to the other & for some shows, I think the organizer miscalculated the audience’s enthusiasm, because they were so full-packed you can’t even get in to them! Another downer, it was so much more commercial than last year. The organizer rented quite a huge space for businesses to sell their products. It just didn’t seem like the spirit of a music festival.

Overall though, I had quite a good time. I saw shows by Incognito, Lee Ritenour, Renee Olstead & Ron King Big Band, Joe Sample, Kurt Elling and Earth, Wind & Fire Experience feat. Al McKay All Stars. Meanwhile for the local musicians, I saw Glenn Fredly & Syahrani.

To get more info on Java Jazz, please check out its website :

Or for the more serious jazz lover, please have a look at JakJazz’s website :


crey said...

slamat bergabung di komunitas ini :) smoga betah ya... hehehe

Fitri said...

hehe..thx crey...masih belajar nih make blogspot, kurang user friendly oii.. (maklum, gaptek)

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