Rock in Solo  

While some people love to relax to soothing music, for others the whole point of listening to their favourite bands is to do so loudly. Forget chart-friendly pop or trendy dance vibes – if you are ever visiting Indonesia's capital Jakarta during 'Rock in Solo' time, prepare to have your ear-drums assaulted!

Every year since 2004, between May and November, festival-goers will be subjected to a diverse range of bands sharing one thing in common: extreme volume. The types of music on offer falls into various genres, but none of it would be particularly welcome blaring from an apartment in a crowded residential area. Rock in Solo boasts thrash metal, gothic music, death metal, heavy metal, metalcore and stoner rock. While the very mention of these genres is enough to have the uninitiated running to their pharmacist for a supply of anti-headache tablets, for the devotees of an event that attracted 37 bands in 2012, this festival is wildly popular.
The festival's beginnings were fairly humble. A decade ago, seven local bands gathered together to entertain a small but enthusiastic audience on a single stage. The second event was launched three years later, with festival number three occurring in 2009 – the first to include international bands in the line-up. Ever since that third festival these rock n' roll parties have been held on an annual basis. By the fourth festival seven bands had expanded to three times that number, spreading over two stages. A year after that, for festival number five in 2011, four stages were utilised to accommodate the 33 bands who congregated to wow the mostly black-clad audiences in Jakarta.
As well as the number of musicians who can now been seen at this annual rock event, the size of the audiences attracted has expanded at a similarly ferocious rate. For that debut festival back in 2004, the total of appreciative fans numbered around 1,500. By 2012 this had rocketed to over 8,000.
Rock bands are notoriously short-lived phenomena. For every Rolling Stones notching up several decades in the business, there is a Nirvana, whose career was notoriously short-lived (amounting to albums that, for all they were acclaimed, could be counted on the fingers of one hand). How many of the bands who first graced the stage for 2004's Rock in Solo are still with us? The bands were Tengkorak, Seringai, Down For Life, Sporadic Bliss, Automatic, Russian Roulette and The Brandals. By the following year only two of those made it back to the stage: Seringai and Down For Life.
The most recent event, held at the Kota Barat football field in Surakarta over November 2nd and 3rd 2013, attracted an eclectic mix of raucous rock exponents. Their names, including Behemoth, Noxa, Outright, Psychonaut and Djiwo, may not necessarily be household names in every corner of the globe, nevertheless the enthusiasm and dedication of these bands for providing hours of gloriously passionate rock n' roll noise for their devotees is unparalleled. If you happen to find yourself holidaying in Indonesia later this year, why not visit Jakarta and take in this fabulous array of headbanging entertainment?!

 

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