Couple of years ago, I stumbled upon an article about Jember Fashion Carnival (JFC) and has been interested in coming to the ever ever since. Long story short, I managed to convince le parents to go there this year. And well, I must say that it’s one of the best carnival in Indonesia.
Jember is small town located to the east of Surabaya. One can reach the city by plane, by car, or by train. The carnival itself started in 2001 and has different grand theme with several sub-themes presented. This year theme was revival — something about Indonesian “resurrection” in several fields, such as maritime. To get into the carnival area, one can either purchase the general admission ticket (VIP ones cost around IDR 400k/$30) or register to get photographer pass, which can be used to access the backstage area as well — I used this pass to get around.
On the day of the grand carnival, I got to meet some of the participants and talked to them. Basically, their participation is voluntary, and by voluntary I mean they don’t get paid anything to participate. Mind you, these people have to walk several kilometres in their costumes and that’s not even the worst part. The costumes are very heavy, some could even weigh up to 20 kgs not to mention that some paired it with towering high heels……and Jember is located in East Java coastline and it’s so frikkin’ hot there.
The craziest part is that these people has to spend $400-$500 to make the costumes. Some make it on their own while some order it to local craftsmen. Insane right? When I asked why they want to participate, all of them just said that they like participating in the carnival (and most seem so proud to be part of it). From what I heard, they have to undergo through several selection test to be able to participate. The organiser itself will give an award to the best costume, but I couldn’t get any detail on what kind of prize will be given to the winner. Well, it seems to me that it’s not the prize that they’re after anyway. I guess this people are not the type that would be confused if asked what their passion is.