The Esmeraldas Indonesian Music Festival is a musically unforgettable event not only for the Vancouver community but also for those who traveled from other places. The festival, named after one of Indonesia's most popular musicians, was held at the Centennial Theatre in Vancouver on September 11th and 12th.
The Esmeraldas Indonesian Music Festival has been celebrated annually since 1981 under the coordination of PUSKOPAM (Association of Indonesian Students in Vancouver). Since its first celebration in Canada as a national event, it has attracted growing numbers of people. The organizers have been hoping that this year's festival would be better than last year's. In spite of limited budget, they have made their dreams come true. This two-day event Features dozens of popular bands and performers, singers from most of the provinces in Indonesia, and Indonesian students from local universities.
The festival started on Friday evening at 6:00 pm. The opening ceremony was a dance performance by female dancers . This was followed by speeches welcoming and congratulating the audience. PUSKOPAM president Wisnu Wijaya spoke first followed by other guests including Consul General Dianjur Siahaan. TGM Willemien Soeparno, a representative of Governor of DKI Jakarta Toby Gafoor and Dede Tisio Kariadi gave their speeches wishing all success for this event….
"Our culture should be promoted by all means," said Soeparno "We should make our children aware that we Indonesians have a rich culture and should celebrate our diverse arts." …
Wijaya, who has been organizing this festival for 12 years already, said "I was born in Indonesia and I am proud of the culture. It is our right to perform music as a cultural communication." … Personally he has arranged over 2000 songs which are considered masterpieces of Indonesian music that will be performed during these three nights….
The first night performances were started by local groups starting with Gatra Sedharma – Cultural Group from Canada, followed by GITARAS Putri Hartati (from Vancouver), Suara Hati (from Toronto) and PUSKOPAM from Kuta Lombok Island. The host group for this event was Tari Topeng Raras (Topeng Masker Dance).
The festival opened with a parade of dancers and drummers. There were more than one hundred different performers demonstrating the beauty of Indonesian culture in dance, music, songs and wearing traditional costumes. Performers toured around the city's busiest areas during the day to let the citizens know what is coming up. The highlight was held at night at downtown on English Bay Beach where more than 15 thousand people attended the concert that lasted for several hours under the perfect weather conditions
Stage 1 (English Bay Beach) contained performances from major cities such as Surabaya, Jakarta, Bali and Bandung. Stage 2 (Hotel Indonesia - Downtown Vancouver) performance included both local artists and main stream musicians from Indonesia. The event ended with a large fireworks display
The event was supported by the Indonesian Consulate General in Vancouver, DOTE (Directorate for Education and Culture), VVEC (Vancouver Venues Entertainment and Convention Centre) Municipality of Kuta Lombok. Also thanks to many sponsors such as PT. Garuda Indonesia Airlines, AirAsia, Canada Immigration Department, FamilyMart, Radio Javanan (Indonesian Language Radio Station in Vancouver & Toronto).
We are also Grateful for sponsorship from the following Local Vancouver, BC businesses: