by: Natalie Pereira
Jan 16, 2024
In its remarkable 15-year journey, the Djakarta Warehouse Project has carved out a reputation for delivering an unparalleled festival experience in all its diverse forms. The esteemed Indonesian music festival has shown extraordinary resilience and creativity since its inception, ballooning in size from their 2008 inaugural club night that started it all. Throughout their course, they successfully weathered the long-but-not-forgotten pandemic era, pivoting to a virtual edition of the festival in times when physical gatherings were impossible. Flash forward to its 2023 iteration, where it made a powerful choice to ditch their typical fixings in central Jakarta, and returned back to Bali for a magical 15th anniversary.
For the second time in its history, the festival embarked on an island-hopping adventure to the tropical landscapes of Bali, captivating a dedicated crew of festival-goers and intriguing those contemplating the prospect of a lush island getaway. Attendees had the opportunity to chart their own musical journey, exploring the sounds of house, trance, bass, and techno across three unique stages, including the iconic Garuda Land main stage. As DWP once again transformed into a destination festival for dance music enthusiasts, it reaffirmed its standing as a leader in Asia’s music festival scene.
Upon entering the festival grounds, sprawling limestone rock pillars immediately captured attention, creating a functional sound barrier between the three stages and emphasizing the auditory experience for festival-goers. In the distance, the iconic Garuda Wisnu Kencana statue stood almost 400 feet high, taller than New York City’s Statue of Liberty, offering both religious and historical significance by representing the Hindu god Vishnu and the Garuda bird in Hindu mythology.
Festival organizers and local powerhouses, Ismaya Live, have always succeeded in keeping fans on their toes ahead of each year’s lineup reveal. In 2023, DWP brought out dance music’s biggest names to the stage – evoking a wave of nostalgia for the 2010 mainstage craze, and focusing on the “now” of today’s favourite headliners. Electric performances from Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso, DJ Snake, and David Guetta, Oliver Heldens, and Alesso graced the festival’s esteemed Garuda Land stage, drawing the masses and injecting a sentimental dose of appreciation for the 2010 “EDM” era into the air. Techno and trance enthusiasts had a plethora of bookings to indulge in, including a mesmerizing live set from Giorgia Angiuli, who utilized synths, drums, and live instruments. Ferry Corsten‘s Gouryella project made its Bali debut, accompanied by a spectacular, immersive laser show. FISHER delivered an electrifying Sunday night performance, igniting the crowd with his cheeky Aussie humor and larger-than-life presence.
While booking international headliners is crucial for drawing crowds, it would be remiss to not applaud DWP for their focus on local talent. 2023’s programming welcomed a whopping nineteen local Indonesian acts, providing a platform for homegrown talent to thrive. Since their inception, the festival has provided a springboard for local artists to reach larger audiences, including crowd favourite, Dipha Barus.
The Indonesian-born, now Bali-based producer graced the stage twice under two artist projects: the mainstage-friendly Dipha Barus and the underground, darker sounds of Mr. Joyful Noise. This marked his 12th edition working with DWP, a significant career milestone. Barus has pioneered a unique approach to music production, sampling traditional Indonesian instruments like the Balinese Gamelan in his singles. Reflecting on his favourite DWP memories, he shared,
“Playing a traditional song on the mainstage was memorable—no one had played an Indonesian song with Indonesian language on the main stage before. On my first single, ‘No One Can Stop Us,’ I sampled all the traditional Balinese Gamelan and a chant from different parts of Indonesia. I’ve been going back and forth to Tana Karo, near North Sumatra, because my ancestors were born there, to record all the traditional instruments.”
Simply said: when a multi-day music event occurs annually, it’s a feat to run each edition better than the last. In a celebration that marked 15 years of DWP greatness, the milestone anniversary brought a lot to the table to stun festival goers, bringing people together from all parts of the world for more than just the music. Ismaya Live’s choice to bring DWP back to the stunning natural canvas of Bali offered the perfect compromise between partying and relaxation – and a refreshing dose of awareness on the island’s vibrant cultural legacy.
Featured image: rukes.com, Djakarta Warehouse Project