Ngayogjazz 2022, back into the swing of it

It was always going to be a big year for Ngayogjazz in 2022. It was the first year since the pandemic that the festival could open its doors to the public, and as a free festival that focuses on raising the masyarakat, it comes at a time families across the country are feeling the bite of rising living costs.

So we’ve all needed an excuse to celebrate. With 20,000 people originally anticipated to descend on Cibuk Kidul, the team behind Ngayogjazz 2022 has pulled out all the stops to make it an event to remember. FrogHouse’s intricate bamboo structures were brought to life in the evening stage lighting and the trills of piano and gamelan soared across the paddy fields and among the trees.

Acts across the night ranged from the experimental rock-come-rap-come-traditional music of Sraddha Jalan Mulia Art Project, who was the first live act to grace the Welut stage, the smooth, complimentary tones of France’s Peemaï Gaga Gundul with Jogja’s own Gayam 16 found on the Cethul stage, to the funky Brazilian tones of Os Seis No Palco on the intimate Wader stage.

Alongside the performers found on the schedule, other big characters drew in the crowds, including a very vocal BBQ squid seller who sang while brandishing a blow torch and went by the name of Pak Papinyos and various mime artists who entertained the festival’s wanderers.

So, honouring Hairus Salim’s call for journalists and media players to draw their eyes away from the music and look at the rest of the festival, what can we reflect on for Ngayogjazz 2022?

For one, the village of Cibuk Kidul can feel proud that its UMKM (micro, small and medium-sized enterprise) products have been a hit at this festival. The writer had never heard the term ikan nila (freshwater fish) mentioned so much in one day, and never did she expect to hear dawet (a sweet, coconut milk-based drink) and nila together in a sentence – a drink that many were seen slurping. A testament to the culinary proficiency of the residents and their local industries


It was also refreshing to once again see young and old coming together in a shared festival space.

Large festivals not only in Indonesia but around the world are normally spaces for the young – perhaps intimidating or perhaps seemingly inaccessible for those under or over a certain age. At Ngayogjazz these boundaries are removed.

Walking around the site, the writer witnessed an elderly lady climb onto a bench to knee-bend to music while giggling with her friends. A group of three small children skipped down the street while next to them hip young things wearing black and covered in tattoos walked past discussing who to watch next – this is the spirit of Ngayogjazz, and it was so nice to see it return to the public once again.

(Contributor: Harriet Crisp)