Sprawled across three days, We The Fest 2018 (WTF 2018) in Jakarta made its mark yet again over the weekend of 20 to 22 July. We highlight the various elements of the impressive weekend we had on the grounds of Jakarta International Expo Kemayoran.
The fifth edition of We The Fest showed that its years of experience in the festival scene has definitely paid off. What began as a one-day event back in 2014 has since evolved to three nights – and for good reason. From its seamless organisation to a cleverly curated lineup and countless side activities that catered to just about anyone, every feature served towards the celebratory spirit. Stepping foot onto the festival grounds, party-goers were first greeted with a bevy of floating, colourful umbrellas that lit up the night sky, and invited one further in to a host of interactions that aimed to include, engage and entertain throughout.
The elaborate setup of We The Fest perfectly complemented the diverse genre of artistes they had in store. Boasting an extensive list of who’s who in a multitude of genres including upcomers Majid Jordan, SG Lewis and Louis the Child, it’s no surprise that the lineup announcements elicited initial responses with a similar abbreviation to WTF from many. Spanning three stages, each night saw heavyweight names bring their A-game, delighting crowds well into the next day.
Day 1’s WTF Stage belonged to modern day rock gods, as former The Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr., alt-crooner Nick Murphy (Chet Murphy) and pop-folk heartthrob James Bay delivered resounding sets back-to-back. James Bay, in particular, drew loud whoops and cheers from the crowd, especially from the female crowd enthralled by the charmer’s swoon-worthy guitar licks and honey-sweet vocals on songs like ‘Pink Lemonade’ and ‘Hold Back The River’. Indie rockers Alt-J capped off the first night past midnight with newer tracks such as ‘Deadcrush’ and crowd-pleaser ‘Tesselate’ as well.
Our very own local heroes The Sam Willows braved a foot injury of their bassist Narelle Kheng – who performed in crutches no less – to put on a stellar show fresh off their latest album release, and proudly represented SG on the second day. Electronic acts like HONNE, Odesza and Petit Biscuit were also strong choices to pack the crowds over the weekend, initiating the colourful mix of audiences to sing along and pull shapes on the makeshift dancefloors.
But it was pop wunderkind Lorde who stole the festival with her electrifying 16-song set, and proved why she rightfully deserves her widespread acclaim as one of the greatest acts of today’s generation. Performing hits off her well-received two albums Pure Heroine and Melodrama, the musical dynamite cosied up to the audience with her intimate stories and eclectic, interpretive dance moves.
And who could ignore the one-two punch of R&B phenoms Miguel and SZA on the third night, who set just the right kind of laidback groove with their slow-burning tunes as the weekend drew to a close.
But music wasn’t the only offering at We The Fest. A stroll around and a transparent box of sponsor H&M quickly drew our attentions and invited us in for a quick browse for fashion accessories to add to our festival garb. Much kudos is deserved for the WTFCON area as well – the vast space held a mini flea market with booths retailing fashion apparel too, such as Dirrty – that even gave complimentary fans of characters like Kris Jenner and Donald Trump just for kicks and to help cool off from the heat.
Festival-goers weren’t left hungry either. In between music sets, many flocked to the Ismaya Food Town’s Eats & Beats Village, and took their pick from different cuisines at the various food booths. The fairy lights and alfresco setting there made for a welcoming respite from the bustling crowds, and provided a perfect spot to sit in anticipation of acts to look forward to.
Committing itself as a fully immersive experience, We The Fest also saw absolutely no dull moment as revellers were thoroughly kept busy with the many exciting areas to get a glimpse of. The aforementioned WTFCON also played host to video game machines where winners could score themselves exclusive prizes, and an illuminated SHVR Party Land box that had local deejays and emcees throwing down beats and dance moves that ignited visitors in joining in.
The introduction of the WTF Skate Park was also a solid addition to the mix, presenting tons of photo opportunities and welcoming bystanders to have a go at skating tricks themselves, complete with cool boards and pads fully provided. The return of previous festival favourite WTF Cinema allowed many to enjoy an exclusive screening of upcoming film The Darkest Minds, as a treat for patrons.
This year also saw a socially conscious movement becoming an emphasis at the festival. While the primary focus remained to party and soak in the fun, we weren’t allowed to neglect the environment either. Sustainability campaign We The Change’s presence was felt significantly, with many bins strategically placed to encourage people to dump their plastic bottles, which will then be churned into clothing and accessories thanks to their partnership with eco-conscious brands H&M and Danone.
The effort only made for a cleaner festival ground with a more comfortable roaming experience, the need of wading through a typically trash-filled field making a welcome disappearance. The all-inclusive event also showed increasing features to aid disabled and wheelchair-bound visitors, with ramps and handicap washrooms leaving no one behind in the festivities.
With a spectacular three days spent amongst great music, friendly faces and sublime planning, it’s hard not to look back on the WTF 2018 experience without cracking a smile. The vibes all around even served as the backdrop for a couple’s marriage proposal, inducing a picture-perfect moment with gasps of adoration all around. These post-concert fond memories will undoubtedly go down as ones to remember for many – that is, until next year when we make even more of them.
All good things must come to an end – and the last night of #wethefest2018 saw acts like @thenbhd, @sglewis_ and @petitbiscuit close the weekend on an absolute high. We came for the music, but fell in love with everything else too. Thanks for the unforgettable memories @we.the.fest, we’ll be back! ❤️🧡💛💚💜 . . . #teenagemusic #wethefest #concertfestival #wethefest2018 #WTF2018 #sglewis #petitbiscuit #theneighbourhood #jakarta #indonesia
See you at We The Fest 2019!
Image credits: We The Fest