With the dust only just settling on We The Fest 2018, organisers Ismaya Live can look back on another stellar weekend packed with captivating artist performances, stunning fashion showcases, eclectic activations, and even a visit from Indonesia's president Joko Widodo for the second year in a row.
The festival has been growing exponentially since its inception in 2014, with the trend continuing this year. In its home at the Jiexpo Kemayoran in the heart of Indonesia’s capital, the 2018 edition stretched for three days and drew crowds of 60,000, a 20% increase on the previous year and over double that from 2016. With ticket sales skyrocketing, festival goers came not just from South East Asia and the Asian territory, but from across the globe, with France, Germany, New Zealand, and even Peru represented alongside the local markets of Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Japan.
Having captured the attention of the international music community, We The Fest now attracts topflight talent from around the world, resulting in some of the most eclectic and exciting line-ups anywhere in Asia. This year was no different, as the likes of Albert Hammond Jr, Chet Faker, Louis The Child, What So Not, Moon Boots, alt-J and British indie-heartthrob James Bay, took to the stage on the first night.
Day 2 saw R&B duo of the moment and Drake protégés Majid Jordan, and synth-pop duo Honne, showcase their soul-soothing sets before Lorde lit up the stage with her debut performance in the city. A visual and sonic spectacle, Lorde whizzed between hits from her two albums before ending with her magnum opus and crowd favourite, ‘Green Light’. Odesza then capped things off, managing to take things up a another gear, with awe-inspiring visuals providing the perfect backdrop to their cinematic performance.
Day 3 was a day of firsts, with Indonesian debuts from the likes of SG Lewis, Petit Biscuit, The Neighbourhood, and Basenji before the current titans of hip-hop and rap took to the main stage to close out the festival. Vince Staples, Miguel and then SZA, each one stealing the show from the last, sent the crowd into a frenzy and showcased why they’re all at the top of their games.
Ismaya have always nurtured local talent and this year they booked more than ever. The worlds of rock, pop, rap, and jazz were all on show, with acts including GAC, Padi Reborn, Barasuara, Laze and Dipha Barus illustrating Indonesia's burgeoning music scene.
Another key aim of Ismaya is to curate a festival that goes 'Beyond The Music'. This initiative, to bring other elements of Indonesian culture into event, proved just as popular with fans as the live acts, with the WTF Skatepark the main runaway success. Both festival goers and artists took to the ramps to brush up on their kickflips and ollies well into the night.
As conscious about putting on an amazing festival as they are about the environment, this year Ismaya partnered with H&M and Danone on their We The Change campaign. Plastic bottles used at the festival were recycled, made into polyester fibre, and then sent to H&M’s manufacturing plants to be used in their clothes.
The highlight for many was arguably the return of the country's president Joko Widodo. Weaving through the crowd and taking selfies with adoring fans, Widodo soaked up the atmosphere and showed that We The Fest truly is open to all.
With post-festival blues already sinking in, fans can look forward to WTF 2019 which will undoubtedly exceed expectations once again.