Get your 2018 festival fix in Klaten, Indonesia

Indonesia is known for it colorful festivities and now the Klaten Regency is adding 40 more to the social calendar. Source/ Shutterstock.com

THE KLATEN REGENCY in Central Java is the unsuspecting home of a Vipassana meditation resort, stunning natural springs, historic temples and this year, also the host of 40 vibrant festivals.

The festivals have been organized to entice more tourists to the region. “This year we’ve increased it to 40 events,” Youth and Sports Agency head Pantoro told The Jakarta Post.

The festivals will commence on Feb 14 at Randulangang village in Jatinom, with the Lurik cloth festival following in April.

Currently, Klaten is best known for its freshwater pond, made for both experienced and amateur divers who want to swim alongside stunning fish and take incredible photos.

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The region is also sought after for its stunningly clear waters at Umbul Manten which brings a slice of calm to a busy city. Pantoro wants Klanten to be known for more than the paradise-style waters though, and that’s why these festivals have been organized.

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The festivals aim to show visitors that there are ever-evolving crafts, festivities, and events to take part in around the region.

“All the festivals are being held in an effort to boost Klaten’s tourism, art and culture promotion. Tourism has been having a positive influence on the local economy,” Pantoro explained.

The festivals will also focus on traditional arts this year, going back to ancestral roots and showcasing culturally significant customs and traditions.

One of the ways this will be displayed is through the Gambyong festival in July. “Thousands of dancers will dance the Gambyong dance simultaneously. This can be similar to the famous Gandrung Banyuwangi,” Pantoro added.

Other events include the Etno Music Sound Festival with involvement from respected choreographer Guruh Soekarnoputra. The music festival aims to promote awareness of the regency’s many temples by featuring replicas of the temples onstage.

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Shadow puppet performances, also known as wayang kulit, will feature 36 times on the events calendar this year. However, only five of them are hosted by the Youth and Sports agency while the rest are being organized by the cultural board.

The festivals have been granted a substantial budget of Rp one billion (US$75,000) by the Klaten Regency in hopes of pushing the regions traditional culture as it has “big potential”, according to Klaten cultural board head Sunarna.