Djakarta Warehouse Project or DWP in short, has momentously grown from its mid-sized warehouse parties taking place within Jakarta’s popular nightclubs way back in 2006, to becoming one of the biggest music festivals in Asia attracting over 100,000 EDM lovers in 2017, beating other heavy-hitting dance music events such as Ultra Singapore.
I first heard about #DWP when they locked down French DJs Brodinski and Gesaffelstein to perform at the 2012 instalment, but I later decided to hit up Malaysia’s own Thirst instead, since they managed to bring down Ed Banger’s legendary duo Justice, as well as the DJs mentioned above. It was a win-win.
Ah, those were the days.. Malaysia’s once burgeoning music scene is now suffering a catastrophic blow, much thanks to irresponsible festival-goers and imperceptive, presumptuous law makers.
Meanwhile, our neighbouring countries such as Indonesia continues to showcase massive international acts including Flume, Slander and more — which prompted me to immediately secure my tickets for #DWP2017 as soon as I saw those big names on the lineup announcement.
Enter festival day. Running for two days on 15 and 16 December at the JIExpo Kemayoran grounds in East Jakarta, three stages were set up for various EDM genres.
Day 1 saw Garuda Land where Flume and Marshmello were stationed to perform, whereas the Cosmic Station stage was overflowing with trance, and finally, Neon Jungle was for hard trap/heavy bass-lovers like myself. Cesqeaux was awesome. Slander’s performance was amply out of this world — but 20 minutes before his set ended, I ran to watch Flume open his at Garuda Land. Well, that was a big mistake.
Flume’s DJ set was peppered with many experimental bass-y tracks that fit well within his canon, but the vibe of the set seemed to stagnate in the middle, before the 26-year old finally picked it up at the end with more familiar hits. Maybe his songs were better suited for more intimate settings, or perhaps I simply set the bar too high for the iconic music producer.
Note: Since Slander’s set was so hardcore — my ears were left throbbing throughout the rest of the night because I went straight from bass thumpin’ sounds to chill synth-y vibes — without waiting for Slander to properly end his set or play my fave song “Gud Vibrations”, which was what instantly sold me on attending #DWP in the first place. Hah 😭
On the other hand, with Marshmello buckets and T-shirts seen everywhere amongst the crowd, it was apparent that about 70% of the festival-goers were waiting for the DJ known to sport his renowned LED powered marshmallow-shaped headgear to show up for his set at the beautiful Garuda stage before Tiesto wrapped up the night.
People rushed, ran and some literally got knocked over dashing toward the main Garuda stage just to secure a spot for perhaps the day’s most highly anticipated set, so much so that I had to step away from the madness before I got trampled over.
I left the venue in the middle of Zatox’s set because my battery was down to 1% and honestly, was exhausted from all the adrenaline. As I walked out, two motorists rode towards me and claimed they were from Gojek – Indonesia’s hyperlocal and infamous motorbike taxi – and without hesitation, I climbed up onto the bike.
Little did I know, they were just some locals trying to make quick bucks, and even went as far as to speed through the opposite side of the road to escape the traffic! Interestingly, no other vehicles honked at us. I got to my destination safely but they were persistent about demanding more for the fare than what we initially agreed on. Oh well. At least I didn’t get robbed.
Organised by Ismaya Live, the festival which aims to spread good tunes while educating the masses to evolve with ever-changing trends in electronic dance music, extended its ninth edition beyond EDM and trance, and opened up the dance floor to hip-hop which now has a flourishing global reach like never before.
To be specific, DWP was crucial for the new wave of Asian hip-hop, an emerging movement that has been steadily gaining momentum over the past few years with familiar names like Brian Imanuel (a.k.a. Rich
Chigga Brian), Joji and Higher Brothers from 88rising, who went wild with their showcase at the Live Etc stage on the second day of the festival.
Indonesian breakout star Rich Brian surprised the crowd when he joined Keith Ape on stage during “Gospel” in which track he is a part of, knowing very well that he had us firmly in the palm of his hands as locals welcomed his return to a hometown stage. The baby-faced 19-year-old rapper is undoubtedly blessed with mad skills, entertaining us with powerful tunes like “Dat $tick”, “Glow Like Dat” and “Chaos”.
Meanwhile, American rapper Desiigner’s set proved to be quite disappointing as flocks of people (including myself) left the stage mid-way during his mediocre performance, although a chunk of the crowd did stay for his one hit wonder “Panda”.
All in all, with a strong, stellar lineup and excellent event organisation, Djakarta Warehouse Project was easily one of the most memorable music festivals I’ve ever been to, which explains why so many people from all over the region — Singapore, Malaysia, Italy, Japan, China, France, Myanmar, Philippines, you name it — flocked to Indonesia over one weekend to be a part of this mind-blowing experience.
The “warehouse” indoor setting was what I loved most, as it allowed me to enjoy the music without having to worry about the climate or weather. Those two deductions may seem trivial, but wait until you get your fancy a** shoes lodged in the mud in other terrain (Ahem, GVF 🤓).
With that said — kudos, DWP. See you at the next one!