Mango fruits hanging over the main stage, ducks wandering through the pathways, grandpas watching as the preparations take place holding babies, thus begins the morning of Ngayogjazz Festival 2018. Each year Ngayogjazz takes place in a small village in the countryside of Jogja. Aiming to move jazz away from the high-class lounges and bars of the city, the festival moves through the streets and homes of the local community. People’s backyards become the home of Indonesia’s thriving jazz scene for one day, bringing local culture, traditions and jazz music fans all together.
As you walk around the village of Gilangharjo, the excitement is palpable. There are small children practicing traditional dance on the Panggung Lurah stage, ibu-ibu (women of the village) preparing bakso and pecel to sell in carts, a small boy starts hanging bags of gold fish in a tree for visitors to buy. The soundchecks fill the air with trumpets and the crew wander around with walkie-talkies making sure everything is prepared.
The backdrop of the village is beautiful. The stages all have their own atmosphere and it’s a small maze of colourful houses and clumps of bamboo to reach each location. It is expected that around 30,000 people will attend the festival today. Far more than the population of 500 the village normally holds, and you can feel the pride of the community as they wait for everyone to arrive, the work that has been put in to make the festival the best yet, and the music that will soon be rolling through the village.