Last week I went to Lalala Festival. It is — borrowing their tagline — the first international forest festival in Indonesia. If you’ve heard about it, you probably have heard about the uproar as well. Their Instagram account was flooded with angry comments from the festival goers, complaining about the festival that was disastrous. Emotions aside, most of the comments deliver the truth about the festival: customers didn’t get the things they had paid for.
I’m not complaining about my muddy shoes and dirty clothes. That much was expected, as I’d imagined this festival to be a bit like Woodstock Festival. But there were too many things that went horribly wrong, and I felt that with this experience, the ticket wasn’t worth it at all.
I’m trying to be objective and write the things as I experienced them.
The good things
- The marketing. Seeing that this is the first music festival in Indonesia with this kind of concept, they did a good job selling it. They succeeded in making it look like the best festival experience you’d get. They did lots of collaborations with online influencers, which helped pique the interest of the public.
- The concept. I could see that the concept was actually amazing. Had all things gone well, it could’ve been a truly wonderful experience. The place was stunning, the decorations were great, and the line-up was good.
The bad things
- Their lack of preparation. I actually don’t know if this was a lack of preparation or inexperience. This festival was held in early November, when the rainy season was in full swing (it was raining every day in the afternoon), so I expected they would be prepared for that. But when the performances were delayed for more than 2 hours, they blamed in on the rain, stating that they had technical difficulties due to the force majeure, (WHAT?! I don’t think they know the exact meaning of that).
- As everything was late, many performances were canceled, while the ones that went on was cut short owing to the time restraint. The schedule went out of the window, as the performers played in a random order.
- Many things were not informed. For instance, the parking lots they provided were located 2-3 miles away from the venue. They provided inadequate (quality- and quantity-wise) shuttle buses to get us to the venue, but as we were leaving the venue to go back to the parking lots, we were left on our own. No help or information whatsoever.
- The unsafe venue. As it was raining, the soil got all soft and muddy. Walking was difficult enough in the daylight, but as the sky went dark, it got perilous. The place was hilly and slippery, and there wasn’t enough lighting for us to watch our steps. There were cables all over the place, unprotected and right in the way of people passing. Thank heaven nobody got electrocuted accidentally.
- We didn’t get things that were promised when we purchased it. They didn’t allow rain coats as they said they’d give each person a raincoat. When we got there, it turned out we could get raincoat with a purchase of a pack of cigarette. And then, they said they’d run out of raincoat. Another thing was the tent. Oh god, THE TENT. We rented a tent for 3 people for IDR 600,000 (which was a bit pricey for a tent, but we thought we’d do it for the experience). Stated before, we’d get the tent with pillows, blankets, toothbrushes, and even wifi. Reality: we got an empty tent.
- Clueless staff. They weren’t any help at all. We asked about the token refund, shuttle buses, and some other things, and none of them knew anything. None. And we didn’t ask just one, but a few staff in different spots.
These are only some of the things my friends and I experienced. Seeing the comments, many people had it worse, and I’m not surprised. Fortunately, the organizer is making an effort to limit the damages, and we’ll get a refund for the tent. They said they took notes of the comments for their evaluation, so I hope this will help as well.
Considering this is their first festival, I’d expected some glitches, but nothing like this. The ticket for this festival wasn’t cheap, and with the canceled/cut short performances and promised things that we didn’t get, this felt a like a rip-off.
I think this will be my first and last time going to Lalala Festival (if there will be the next one(s) in the years to come).