This past weekend, thousands upon thousands came flocking the grounds of Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) Cultural Park in Bali, all with one destination in mind: Soundrenaline 2019.
It’s the music festival’s fifth time being held in GWK Park, and its 17th overall since the very first time Soundrenaline came to be in 2002. Most likely than not, we could have been too young to even remember the first rounds of the festival, but let this year’s lineups of artists and the experience speak for the monumental hike it has paved over the years: bracing the theme of The Spirit of All Time, music lovers across generations came and lived the prismatic festivities of Soundrenaline 2019.
The 17th edition of Soundrenaline extensively celebrated music with a lineup of 60 international and local performing bands and artists across ages and genres. What grew from Soundrenaline’s initial start as a rock and alternative music-leaning festival came to be Southeasia’s largest and most extensive multi-genre music festival. Spread across four stages (All Time Stage, CreAtors Stage, CelebrAtion Stage, and the biggest A STAGE) in GWK’s spacious floors, there was music and entertainment for every festival goer.
To wit, the festival’s cross-generation-wide event hosted established artists like pop group Kahitna and metalcore Burgerkill to young emerging ones like Reality Club and Mantra Vutura. Among other genres pop, rock, metal, reggae, R&B, and even EDM made the cut into the festival as performed by a myriad more of young and established musicians alike.
On both days, the crowd could not contain their cheers for young artists such as .FEAST, Dipha Barus, Kunto Aji, Barasuara and more. Similarly, leading bands such as Maliq & D’Essentials, Kahitna, RAN, Shaggydog who has returned again and again to perform at Soundrenaline stirred crowds of all ages–a manifestation of how every generation can relate to timeless music. Whether the audience were banging their heads and dancing to time-flavoured music or discovering new ones across the stages, the energy was petrifying to the bones.
Speaking of, this year’s Soundrenaline was also a cradle of international discovery. Young band such as Thai-based Gym and Swim had their debut in Indonesia and were widely well-received for the funky and tropical vibrancy of their music. The adoring crowd recognised a fresher in the scene when they saw one and it was a hit. Meanwhile, Mellow Fellow from the Philippines has returned to their Indonesian fanbase and garnered more in Soundrenaline.
But if you were craving for revered international artists, British band Suede bewitched festival goers by the thousands in their first appearance in Indonesia, ever. While many merely experienced singing to their hits on drunken nights of karaoke bar sessions, the audience sung their hearts with Brett Anderson to Beautiful Ones, accompanied by his spirited performance. On Day 2, Primal Scream similarly spellbound the audience to top-notch satisfaction for a show to remember.
While the festival was a highlight of music through the times, Soundrenaline was also a celebration of artistic might because this edition of Soundrenaline invited 17 local visual artists and talents to collaborate for the festival. Among others, Yogyakarta-based artist Uji ‘Hahan’ Handoko installed his giant artwork “Tapi Jadi Epik” that housed the exhibition of Go Ahead Challenge 2019’s finalists. The CelebrAtion Stage was designed by the unmistakable and renowned Eko Nugroho. An arresting performance surprised the crowds when Bali Special Project overtook the A STAGE for a dance-theatrical performance (produced by Putu Hendra Brawijaya) with 11 percussionists, 6 dancers and 30 Adi Merdangga gamelan players to narrate the Balinese Kala Tattwa folktale of Dewa Siwa. The sounds of gamelan, captivating visuals and enigmatic storytelling and performance was rounded into one epic show to awe an audience and remind them that they’re indeed standing on the mystic Island of Gods.
This year’s Soundrenaline was held on a scale that surpassed many local festivals in content and quality, thus one can only anticipate Soundrenaline 2020 to be even more spectral.