The Indonesiana platform is more than just coordinating festivals all around Indonesia, said Director-General of Culture Hilmar Farid during a Q&A session with journalists in the run-up to the soft opening of International Gamelan Festival 2018, Wednesday (9/8).

Hilmar considered that the indicator of success in a festival is not the visitor count, but the sustainability of the festival. “I consider it (visitor count) secondary. What use would it be if we boost the current one but neglect the next?” he said.

Therefore, in order to help organize festivals in many regions, Indonesiana focused on building commitment and cultivating a sense of ownership among regional stakeholders. Hilmar explained that such a commitment could be seen from festival funding in planned regional budgets in order to ensure sustainability.

Whereas sense of ownership can be cultivated by increasing the engagement of all stakeholders, including communities, regional governments, and the private sector, said Hilmar. Successful festivals could engage the private sector.

“Private support would not just be CSRs from large companies. I’m talking about smaller enterprises too, such as meatball restaurants and other culinary businesses in towns, which could profit from visitors attracted by the festivals,” Hilmar explained.

Building Organization

Hilmar added that another focus of Indonesiana is to build an organizational framework for the festivals, particularly to ensure the commitment to continue holding festivals in the future. “One of the goals (of Indonesiana) is to strengthen organization. So after the festivals we still have organizations running,” he said.

He considered that a well-established festival can be organised in a better way. At present, festival organizing committees still have overlapping duties and the festival directors had to take care of everything: administrative, technical, even creative decisions. A sound organization would help describe the duties and functions of the organizing committee.

Strengthening Research and Documentation

Another common obstacle in cultural festivals in Indonesia is research. Festival planning was usually done in a hurry because there were no permanent organizations managing them. Quality of research for festival concept and themes suffered. Festivals were held in a generic, bland way, although the creative possibilities should be endless.

“This is what we’re trying to support through the Indonesiana platform,” Hilmar explained. The support was given through Indonesiana’s knowledge management team.

Besides festival planning, the knowledge management team is also in charge of archiving the cultural assets of a region. It is a step towards creating a cultural database for public access, as a resource to help strengthen culture in regions.

A good archive and accessibility of information can also nurture public attention and curiosity—two things that can foster a sense of ownership on cultural assets, supporting the sustainability of the developed cultural ecosystem.