Islamists protest EDM fest DWP, Jakarta gov’t promises it’ll follow ‘eastern norms’, no alcohol, no bikinis

The Cyberjapan Dancers performing at DWP 2014. According to the Jakarta Tourism Department, such outfits will not be allowed at this year’s DWP as they are not in accordance with “Eastern norms”. Screenshot: Youtube
The Cyberjapan Dancers performing at DWP 2014. According to the Jakarta Tourism Department, such outfits will not be allowed at this year’s DWP as they are not in accordance with “Eastern norms”. Screenshot: Youtube

Many fans of electronic dance music in Jakarta and around Southeast Asia are eagerly anticipating this weekend’s Djakarta Warehouse Project, touted as one of the region’s biggest EDM festivals and featuring a number of world-famous headliners including Marshmellow, Hardwell, Steve Aoki and Tiesto.

But this year’s DWP may be quite “different” from previous years, if the Jakarta Tourism Department is to be believed. Facing pressure from Islamist hardliner organizations such as the infamous Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), who have demanded that Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan rescind the long-planned event’s permit at the 11th hour (and were apparently quite angry when he didn’t take a lunch meeting with them yesterday regarding the matter), the capital’s tourism department has responded by promising that the traditionally raucous EDM event would “follow Eastern norms”, with Jakarta Tourism Dept. Head Tinia Budiati specifying that would mean foreign artists would have to wear “decent clothes”.

“They obviously must be adapted to Eastern norms,” Tinia said, as quoted by RMOL.

Tinia was referring to DWP performers such as the Cyberjapan Dance Group, who often perform in bikinis or other revealing outfits, including at previous DWPs.

(Yes, Cyberjapan. As in, they’re from Japan. In East Asia. But then, we know those aren’t the ‘Eastern’ norms they’re actually talking about…)

Tinia also declared that alcoholic beverages were not allowed to be sold at DWP (as they have been in all the festival’s previous years).

“Alcoholic drinks are not allowed at (DWP) in accordance with the prevailing regulations, there is no sales of liquor,” Tinia told CNN Indonesia on Monday, asserting that the sale of alcohol could only take place in licensed venues and that DWP did not have permission to purchase or supply alcohol.

However, a spokesperson for festival organizer Ismaya, while not responding directly to Tinia’s statement, confirmed in a Tempo article published yesterday that alcoholic beverages would indeed be sold at the festival to audience members 21 years of age or older as in years past.

The drama over DWP began a few weeks ago when a student organization held some small  protests demanding that the EDM festival be banned since it promoted immorality and the primacy of western culture over Indonesian culture.

More recently, FPI and an Islamist legal organization called Bang Japar (which also tried to get a man arrested for criticizing FPI leader Rizieq Shihab on social media) joined in on the DWP denunciations.

“(DWP should be banned) because it is not useful, it is not in accordance with the Eastern culture of Indonesia, and it is far from moral and religious values, it does not give guidance,educate and creates a negative example, especially to the young generation,” Bang Japar director Juju Purwantoro told Detik yesterday.

Governor Anies Baswedan has not yet commented on the controversy, but Vice Governor Sandiaga Uno defended the festival, saying he had allowed his children to attend in previous years and saying it was good for the local economy. However, he did suggest that the DWP organizers include traditional Indonesian music and dance performances as a kind of compromise (a suggestion they have apparently taken).

Police have stated that they have prepared thousands of security personnel to make sure that the music festival is safe and secure. The Jakarta Tourism Dept. said that they would have officials at the event to make sure that the organizers followed their rules and that no drugs were present at the festival.



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