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Indonesia drive-in concert delivers live music as COVID-19 rages

Indonesia drive-in concert delivers live music as COVID-19 rages

People watch a concert by local pop band Kahitna in a drive-in during the New Live Experience series at a parking area Jakarta International Expo, Aug 29, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana)

JAKARTA: As night fell in the Indonesian capital, pop ensemble Kahitna took to the stage for a drive-in concert nearly two hours long that attracted eager listeners in rows of hundreds of parked cars.

The eight performers played yearning, sentimental tunes, capitalising on patrons' nostalgia for the group's 1990s heyday, with listeners honking and flashing their lights as the band launched into its hit tune, Cerita Cinta or Love Story.

That was a reminder of the good times before the coronavirus pandemic brought the music industry to a juddering halt, said Chaeruddin Syah, one of the concert organisers.

READ: Indonesia sees record new coronavirus cases; clusters at factories 

A worker provides direction for a car before the concert of the local pop band Kahitna during the New Live Experience series, at a parking area of the Jakarta International Expo. (Photo: Reuters/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana)

"Our economy has declined for four to five months, we have not worked at all and have not made any money," Syah told Reuters.

"We hope this concert can provide solutions and inspiration to the entertainment industry."

Indonesia, which is grappling with a surge in virus infections, reported 2,858 new coronavirus infections and 82 more deaths on Sunday (Aug 30), taking the total number of cases to 172,053 and fatalities to 7,343.

READ: Indonesia aims to produce 70% of required medical supplies as part of self-reliance efforts: Coordinating minister

A woman watches a concert by local pop band Kahitna. (Photo: Reuters/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana) A woman watch a concert by local pop band Kahitna in a drive-in during the New Live Experience series at a parking area Jakarta International Expo amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Jakarta, Indonesia, August 29, 2020. REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana

The organisers of Saturday's event said they had prioritised safety, asking listeners to provide negative test results and wear masks.

The concert, which will be followed by another on Sunday, drew a crowd of about 900 people in 300 cars, all of whom had to stay in their vehicles.

Each car tuned into an FM radio channel to hear the concert. Each was sprayed with disinfectant on arrival, and received a carbon dioxide detector to alert occupants to open their windows if levels of the dangerous gas rose too high.

READ: Singapore and Indonesia to begin discussions on 'reciprocal green lane' for essential travel: MFA

People watch a drive-in concert by local pop band Kahitna during the New Live Experience series. (Photo: Reuters/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana)

"This concert is an extraordinary initiative," said one listener, a 45-year-old who gave her name only as Emilia.

"This is really good, especially when we don't know when the pandemic will end."

A city of 10 million, Jakarta has recently recorded the highest daily increase in infections among Indonesian regions, and maintains curbs on public transport and businesses, although this week its governor said cinemas would re-open soon.

READ: Huge Indonesia mine resumes operations after lockdown protest

The concert drew a crowd of about 900 people in 300 cars. (Photo: Reuters) Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Jakarta

The adverse impact of the virus had forced musicians and their crews to adapt, said Adib Hidayat, who tracks music trends for the Indonesian industry.

"If the (drive-in) concept could have a strict protocol and a tight discipline from the audience, it could be one of the new breakthroughs," he told Reuters.

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Source: Reuters/zl

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