After a few weeks of endless thunderstorms, it seemed as if Ngayogjazz was going to be a particularly wet affair this year – perhaps fitting for the theme Kena Jazz-é, Tetep Bening Banyuné and the image of murky waters. And yet, come the morning of Ngayogjazz 2022 the sky had decided to take a rest from all the rain and instead blessed Cibuk Kidul with bright sunshine and puffy clouds.
With mere hours until the crowds descended for the first Ngayogjazz open to the public since 2019, the men, women and children of Cibuk Kidul prepared food stalls, sat drinking iced tea and watched as the site organizers raced around with sound equipment and shoots of bamboo.
Amid the excitement of getting ready for the event later in the day, some of the talks heard around the village focused on the last in-person Ngayogjazz and the crowds that gathered during Didi Kempot’s final Ngayogjazz appearance. Others spoke about their experience catching COVID-19 in the years since, and the relief that life was finally getting back to normal.
One elderly man, Gregorius, stood watching Nationaal Jeugd Jazz Orkest (NJJO) & Maarten Hogenhuis sound check on the Tawes stage. He told us that he’d been working in his field when he heard the sound of jazz drifting toward him and he came to see what was happening. He liked jazz – especially clarinet music – and said that later when the festival started, he would make all the farmers come and watch with him.
With the late afternoon light beginning to turn Cibuk Kidul golden, and the sonorous tones of Karawitan Mudha Laras calling everyone to the Welut stage, it was time for the opening of the festival. Hosts Alit Jabang Bayi and mbak Fira Sasmita welcomed the regional head of Margoluwih Bapak Sunaryo, Yogyakarta’s Tourist Agency head Bapak Singgih Raharjo, SH, M.Ed. and Vice Regent of Sleman Danang Maharsa, SE. Each gave a speech praising the resourcefulness of the community and the uniqueness of the festival.
And with the audience’s spirits roused, traditional dancers Rampak Buto and arak-arakan (a parading troupe) complete with large fish on their heads officially opened the festival in all its strange and glorious colours.
(Contributor: Harriet Crisp)