I actually had been of two minds about it. The event started at noon. Since I would have to go at three pm, there would only be two and a half hour window to roam about. With promise of food and performances, the time only allowed for little to savour.

The Gate

Festival of Nations is an annual food and cultural event, organized by International Relations students of Parahyangan Catholic University, according to its facebook page. This year, held on 26 April as part of the celebration of 60th Asian-Africa Conference Commemoration, the event took on the theme of Global Village, and title Kulturasun with tagline When the World Say Sampurasun (Sampurasun is sundanese greeting).

The first stage

It was held on half part of the road that is designated as car-free area on Sunday mornings. Basically, the event was an extension to the regular car-free hours with a unifying theme, a global village, connecting the attractions.

People already amassed when I got there although the hosts at the stage nearest to the gate were still initiating the show. The first stage was right under the greeneries that are the landmark of the Dago street. It was the best spot to just sit down on the road and enjoy being under the trees.

Trying to optimize the time, I walked straight to the other end of the venue while noting my surrounding. There were a number of food and drink stalls, plenty of tea, very little coffee, followed by cells exhibiting culture of various countries. At the end of the venue was the main stage where most of the performances, dances and music, took place.

The main stage

Since the sun was still in full glory, an hour past noon, people mostly stayed in the shade at a distance from the stage because the front of it was bare open. I didn’t stay long enough to see a full performance at the main stage as a message came from a friend to meet near the first stage. So I walked back, all the way through, and picked up two bottles of tea.

Impression and a couple of notes

As is my eternal complaint on public events in public spaces, these programmes need better sound strategies (there is a sound talk on the subject by Julian Treasure at TED). Did the show hosts think the audience would not hear them? Because they shouted a lot while the perfectly functioning sound system amplified their words. I dream of an event in which I don’t have to shout to communicate with the one next to me.

I very much support entertainment like these where people meet and mingle and provide alternatives to malls. I wonder why we can’t have car-free areas every day of the week, not just on Sundays.