Indonesia Expat
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Jakarta Set to Hold First International Fringe Festival

Jakfringe International Festival

The performing arts and entertainment scene in Indonesia is set to enter a new era in November with the launch of the country’s first ever International Fringe Festival which will be held on November 7-11. The event, organized by the Jakarta Comedy Club, and will feature five days of continuous live acts, exhibitions and shows, including stand-up comedy, magic, films, theatre, poetry and much more.

“Bringing together nearly 200 Indonesian and international acts across a wide range of performing arts, the first Jakarta International Fringe Festival will put Indonesia on the map of fringe festivals held around the world,” said Sachin Gopalan, CEO of Berita Satu Media Holdings, publisher of the Jakarta Globe.

But what exactly is a “fringe festival”? Scottish playwright Robert Kemp first used the term in an article for the Edinburgh Evening News, published during the second Edinburgh International Festival in August 1948.

“Round the fringe of the official festival drama there seems to be more private enterprise than before,” he wrote. “I’m afraid some of us are not going to be often at home during the evenings.” He was describing the independent theatre groups that had arrived uninvited at the Edinburgh International Festival for the second year running to perform in venues outside – or “round the fringe” – of the city of Edinburgh and not under the auspices of the official festival.

Over the years, the “Edinburgh Festival Fringe” became as popular as the official Edinburgh International Festival and today it is one of 12 official festivals that take place simultaneously in the city of Edinburgh every year for three weeks during the month of August – and is the most famous of the 69 fringe festivals held around the world.

As the decades went by, the technically correct but grammatically awkward title, “The Edinburgh Festival Fringe,” got simplified to “The Edinburgh Fringe Festival,” and as a result, “fringe” became accepted as a type of festival rather than a part of another festival. The term “fringe” has since been adopted and adapted by festival organizers around the world and is today used to describe festivals that incorporate multiple art forms, usually with an accent on comedy.

The Jakarta International Fringe Festival, or “JakFringe,” follows this trend and will be held in Lippo Mall Kemang and other venues in Kemang.

Fringe festivals include a large comedy component and JakFringe is no exception. The enormous rise in the popularity of stand-up comedy in Indonesia over the last two years has made it much easier than it would previously have been to fill our stages with extraordinarily talented local comedians.

More than 60 Indonesian comedians will peform at the festival. JakFringe will also feature some of the world’s leading international comedy stars, who will perform alongside local comedians. Headlining the festival is UK comedy superstar Bill Bailey, who always figures high on any list of the greatest comedians of all time. He will be delighting Jakarta audiences with his unique musical comedy repertoire. Bailey, who speaks some bahasa Indonesia, has been to Indonesia many times to make TV documentaries and to pursue work here with International Animal Rescue.

The time is right for JakFringe and we look forward to welcoming the local and international community for five days and nights of fun and entertainment. To purchase tickets and to learn more about the festival, visit festival’s website at

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