Concerts in Indonesia may return, says Tourism and Creative Economy Minister

These would be organised with "strict health protocols" in place, and with the permission of the police and regional COVID-19 task forces

Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy has indicated that physical concerts may return to the country, over a year since they were prohibited due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Minister Sandiaga Uno reportedly indicated in a press conference yesterday (March 17)  that following the government’s vaccination programme that began in January, tourist events and concerts may return to Indonesia. These would be organised with “strict health protocols” in place, and with the permission of the police and regional COVID-19 task forces.

“If [offline] events can be held again, [they should be] initiated and coordinated in synergy with the local police and regional COVID-19 Task Force,” he said, as Coconuts reported.

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“Please hold the events with colossal synergy, involving all parties. Including for musical concerts with strict health protocols.

“We already have the Cleanliness, Health, and Safety (CHS) program for creative economy activities.”

Crowd permits for mass gatherings were first suspended in Indonesia on March 3 last year, following the country’s first confirmed COVID-19 cases.

This development follows a report by CNN Indonesia on March 10, in which Sandiaga expressed optimism for the return of live events, following a meeting with the country’s Chief of Police, General Listyo Sigit Prabowo.

Sandiaga had claimed Prabowo supported the return of sporting, music and cultural events, as well as MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, Exhibitions). However, TEMPO.CO reported two days later that the National Police said regulations have yet to be announced or permits issued.

Like many others around the world, Indonesia’s live music scene has gone dormant during the pandemic as concerts have been halted.

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The Jakarta Post reported that M-Bloc, a Jakarta-based venue, lost more than Rp 2.5billion in less than a year, resulting in the dismissal of 12 staff members. “We’re all in survival mode now,” Wendi Putranto, the program director of M-Bloc told the publication. “And the government doesn’t care that we’re dying.”

Some concert promoters have taken to online streaming to resume operations, with notable festivals such as We The Fest and Synchronize Fest turning into virtual events for global audiences. Drive-in concerts were even held in Jakarta.

Andreas Pratama, co-founder of Jakarta label Dominion Records, told NME he is excited by the prospect of live music returning but remains cautious, indicating that the risks still remain despite strict health measures.

“Anything that might lead to another pandemic will already be another setback for us,” he said.

Indonesia aims to inoculate two-thirds of its population – or 181.5million people – within 15 months, or by March 2022, to achieve herd immunity. The country has seen over 1.4million coronavirus cases and over 38,000 deaths so far.

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