Art festival (piasan seni) is an annual event held by the Department of Culture and Tourism Banda Aceh. This event is a forum for art performers of the heirloom city to showcase a variety of creativity.
For this year, the Department of Culture and Tourism Banda Aceh re-hold the art festival with the theme “Unlimited Creativity”, which took place at Blang Padang on 16-18 November 2018. This was the biggest year-end event.
The annual event of Banda Aceh City Government featured musical poetry, Acehnese ethnic contemporary music competition (arable music), traditional dance, creative dance competitions, and many more.
On Friday night, 6th October 2018, Deputy Mayor of Banda Aceh, Zainal Arifin, opened the 2018 Art Festival by hitting rapa-i as an official sign to start this event. The rapa-i hitting moment was also followed by Banda Aceh City Secretary, Bahagia, and the Head of Banda Aceh Cultural and Tourism Office, M. Rizha, and the head of Banda Aceh State Prosecutor, Erwin Desman.
In his speech, Zainal Arifin said that the aim of Piasan Seni was to stimulate the young generation creativity continuously. He hoped that through this art festival, the artists could express the values of art into a show or exhibition that can be enjoyed by many people from various circles.
“Use this Art Festival as a place to show the talents and creativities possessed by today’s young generation,” he hoped.
The Head of Banda Aceh Cultural and Tourism Office, M. Rizha said that this annual event presented a variety of artistic creativity and is one of the department mainstay programs in term of arts and tourism. It involved the arts communities and artists in Banda Aceh.
“Hopefully, this event brought the arts in Banda Aceh to be better and could be well-known by the world,’ said Rizha.
The Residents Crowded the Art Festival Arena
Despite the rain, it did not reduce the interest of Banda Aceh people to watch the opening of this biggest year-end event. The audience, which dominated by young people, took shelter from the rain under the tent in front of the main stage. They looked enthusiastic watching the opening ceremony.
Monitoring by bandaacehtourism.com, from the two days of Art Festival, on Saturday night (October 17th, 2018), the art exhibitions booths were more crowded by the society as well as the people who filled the front of appreciation stage to watch the art performances. The visitors of all ages were crowded the field of Blang Padang together with their friends and families.
At the second night of Piasan Seni, after various Acehnese art dances performances, there was one last show that captivated the whole visitors of Art Festival 2018, namely debus better known as top daboh.
Top daboh is one of the most famous Aceh arts performances. This art is classified as extreme, as debus players have special ability that make them invulnerable from the incision of sharp weapons. Usually does debus attraction is accompanied by rapa-i music and used special spell chanted.
However, at that night, debus was performed differently. This extreme art from the South-West coast of Aceh was not accompanied by rapa-i, but replaced with rock music. This resulted in more crowded visitors who came to the front of main stage area.
A single debus player hop on the main stage to show his action by slicing his body with the sharp weapons. On the left side of the stage, a man in white clothes continuously read top daboh spells.
Not only the art attractions and exhibits, a variety of culinary items were offered at Piasan Seni 2018 area too. Furthermore, there were also children’s playgrounds. Therefore, the visitors felt very comfortable to spend their time in this event, especially with their families and children. 
Reporter : Munawar Hafizhi
Photographer : Mustawazir
Editor : Ayu ‘Ulya