Welcoming the Indonesian Satay Festival Back in 2019

This year, Indonesian Satay Festival returned once again to provide you with everything Indonesia. The festival, organised by PERWIRA (Perhimpunan Warga Indonesia di Victoria) now in its 32nd year since its first inception, opened the door to the public promptly at 11:00 A.M at Box Hill Town Hall to welcome everyone into an afternoon of delicacy and entertainment. The festival itself wished to bring together the many varieties of food, culture and celebration of Indonesia here in Melbourne. True to its purpose, one could easily come to appreciate the beauty of the Indonesian culture with the upbeat songs, beautiful dances, powerful martial art display and deep poetry recital held onstage. To make the day even better, the fragrant smell of freshly cooked food lingered in the air, further tantalizing you to place your order and enjoy some succulent sate or nasi campur. With the band concluding their opening performance, the 2019 Indonesian Satay Festival kicked off into yet another year of festivity and togetherness.   

The 2019 Indonesian Satay Festival brought back many familiar friends and performers back onto the stage. Among the many performers, both singers and dancers, you could see the Angklung group of Dharma Wanita Persatuan (DWP) bringing yet another beautiful angklung rendition of modern pieces. This year, Orkes Jawi Waton Muni (OJWM) returned with many new catchy tunes for the audiences to choose from. The group filled the hall with laughter and smile as they play and dance to the music alongside fellow audiences. The festival also welcomed familiar fellow dancers such as the Bonapasogit, Sanggar Sari Widya Luvtari and Sanggar Sari Maria Leeds in bringing many other dances in their repertoire. Of course, new dancer such as the Baytul Makmur dancer is also much welcomed as the group brings in their own choreography for the audiences.  Then, there was the Pencak Silat display by two martial arts academy – Domas and Asad. The intensity of the techniques and the one-on-one fight itself were more than enough to catch the eyes of the audiences as the hall burst into thundering applauses. Of course, after an intense match, nothing calmed the mind more than some poetry recital by Jembatan Poetry Society. Poetry lines were written and read to commemorate the Kartini Day that fell on 21 April 2019 and to express condolences on the recent shootings in Christchurch and Sri Lanka. The room was silent and the audiences were attentively listening to the words spoken by Mr. Anton Alimin in a moment of silent acknowledgement of the tragedy.

Aside from familiar performances and performers, the festival also featured returning food stall owners setting up their booths around the hall. A selection of different dining options ranging from sate, lontong, nasi campur, nasi bakar all the way to empek-empek could be found being sold at the festival. With so many options to choose from, it was not surprising to see the booths crowded with visitors coming in and out of the hall who are eager to land the first bite on the delicious treats. Even when the festival concluded, you could still see some people visiting the booths to get some last-minute purchase before going home.

This year, Indonesian Satay Festival also saw a larger volume of visitors than previous years. With such high positivity, it will not be surprising should there be even more visitors in the upcoming year. So be sure to mark it on your calendar, folks!

Text: Edward Tanoto
Photo: Windu Kuntoro