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Event Number 12 – The unexpected events is what this journey is all about…time to eat

Stumbled across this event – literally after going for a jog in the parks of Jakarta – red shipping containers welcomed me and then lanterns and then I was in the middle of a food festival…Welcome to event number 12 – which wasn’t meant to be part of the project – but I am glad it is…


What was the event?

The Event was the “Go Jek presents Go Food Festival”. I attended the event on the 28th of February however the event has been on since May 2018 open every day until May this year – yes a whole year of a food festival and as you will see and read…the pace of the event has slowed down – but the 1uality of food hasn’t. Jakarta with a very clean food festival…who would have thought after my experience of street food in the last 24 hours.

What happened at the event?

It was quiet. It was 4pm. No one was in the seating area. About 18 stalls opened with the stall holders peering over the top of their units. I was laughing because suddenly it went from peering to “there is a Scottish guy in shorts and a tshirt walking through our festival” and soon I was being asked for a photo. I was fine with that but sadly I hadn’t done my hair that day.


First thing that I was surprised about – in a positive way – was the professional look of the festival. I mean – Jakarta is in no way rich in money. But I walked in to an event that had lanterns, lighting, seating areas, photo opportunities, shipping containers – everything I would see at an event in the UK with most probably more budget, more complicated rules and certainly not for the length of time.


(I do love the pizza oven…)

I was immediately stopped by a man, whom I would later find out was called Danny (good English name he said) and we started speaking. Danny was explaining to me how he has been there since May but about three quarters of all the stalls are gone. They couldn’t last. After 6 months of the success people stopped coming. He was describing how the seats were always full but now its quiet. I asked who comes to these events – he explained the middle class. Those are the people that can afford a food festival. Upper class would be in high class restaurants on the other side of the city. I was intrigued by his observations and asked why did he stay?

He made pizzas. The pizzas cost me (yes I had a pizza I know but I am not an adventurous eater as yet) £3 for a deep pan pizza and the biggest smile and best customer service I have ever experienced. Some of the food – like a burrito at one of the other stalls costs £1.10. Now – lets think about food festival in the UK – where would you be able to get a burrito for £1.10. And its been made fresh – like literally fresh in front of you in a clean environment in the containers. One other thing when Danny was speaking to me was when they discovered I was from Scotland…there was only one question on their mind “Glasgow Celtic or Glasgow Rangers?”

Now – I am in the middle of Jakarta. And I am being asked what team do I support? “Brendan Rogers gone…Neil Lennon”. Literally football the language of the world but also the impact social media has – its quite incredible.

Anything else to add?

Two things I do want to focus on. The payment method and the branding.

Payment method:

Phones are as common as cigarettes in Jakarta and a very clever marketing person has jumped on the bandwagon and set this event as a QR code payment only. event Literally take a photo of the code and the money comes off your account. Its called Go Pay. For me and international visitors this is not possible to be used because we do not have a bank account that could be linked. It’s a barrier. This is called event consumption barriers. But it works because the event collects your data. Genius. They see what your spending money on, when your coming and send emails to ensure you do not forget about them. The way I got about it was paying cash to someone else because Danny was not allowed to accept cash under the table and then the gentleman scanned his phone. Making sure the Scotsman got his amazing cheese pizza.

Branding and theming for the event was one thing I loved. It was amazing and as the night progressed and the moon sat in the sky the lights twinkled in the trees and lanterns floated around in the winds of Jakarta. The marquees were also well presented with a stage for cooking culinary lessons and beanbags and photo opportunities – all given a very relaxed ambiance. The event was not just a cooking experience.

This was innovative for the area. But Danny was explaining that there is 30 of these festivals in Jakarta – where the population is 9.7 million – so you could say there is a demand – but having an event for a year…is a bit much on stallholders, and consumers. The product needs to be fresh and original – it can’t be if its on for that long. Yes, they can spice it up but when there is containers lying empty it looks tired. But for me I loved it because the people there where a community of stallholders who all where friends and showing that events is about supporting each other through the good and the slow times.

One thing to take away…

For sure the payment method is original and I like it. I think there needs to be measures in place to ensure everyone can spend and enjoy the event if using technology. But the UK needs to take head when it comes to this method because lets not innovative in the events world and not be left behind…




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