Concerts in Jakarta in the Midst of the Pandemic: Are We Coexisting With Covid-19?

The announcements of HITC Jakarta and Justin Bieber Justice World Tour in Jakarta. (Twitter/@88rising,

The announcements of HITC Jakarta and Justin Bieber Justice World Tour in Jakarta. (Twitter/@88rising,

At the end of last March, music fans were shocked by the announcement of two big concerts in Jakarta. They are the concerts of Justin Bieber and Heads In The Clouds (HITC) by 88rising. People were expressing excitement and gratitude. For that matter, their responses to both of the announcements are expected in the light of the fact that in the past two years of the pandemic, the government applied several names for the stay-at-home orders, from PSBB to PPKM. Consequently, there were no concerts for two years straight. Besides, for HITC, the company cancelled the concert that was supposed to be held in Jakarta in March 2020 due to the sudden bump in of the pandemic around that time.

During the month of Ramadan, thousands of people from Jabodetabek (Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, Bekasi) area attended a festival called Bigbang Fest Jakarta Ramadan. Took place in JIEXPO Kemayoran, the concert festival had several Indonesian musicians as their guests, such as Pamungkas, MALIQ & D’essentials, Kunto Aji, Fiersa Besari, Tulus, and more. The concert was held from April 22nd to May 8th. Based on the statement of one of the audience at the concert festival, the crowd was apparently huge, considering the quick run out of tickets. 

Moreover, recently on May 6th, a festival conducted by Allobank was announced. It will be held in Istora Senayan, Jakarta. The festival is expected to be crowded because of its unexpected guests, such as Red Velvet, NCT Dream, and some of the nation’s favorite musicians.

How was one of the concerts in Jakarta going? 

A performance by Hindia at the Bigbang Ramadan. (Endita Lisdayaranti)

As it is known, the global pandemic has been a part of our lives for the past two years. Nevertheless, concerts that are starting to emerge to the surface—somehow indicate that the global pandemic is about to end its era. The crowded Bigbang Ramadan Festival depicted how people are willing to attend concerts in the midst of the pandemic. 

Endita Lisdayaranti (19), one of the people who attended the Bigbang Festival, gave her reasons. Speaking via WhatsApp, Endita says she seeks entertainment to refresh her mind. “I used to go to concerts and festivals before the pandemic. I have always loved being part of the crowd,” says the sophomore student of IPB University. “It is a blessing to have another chance of reuniting with friends and flashing back to the happy moments with them, such as attending concerts,” she continues.

But Endita does not have the same positive tone when talking about the health protocol in the concerts. She explains, the health protocol was not well-conducted. However, there was still a temperature check and public safety announcement to wear masks.

Another one who attended the festival on a different day, Divandra (19), says the same reason for attending the concert in the midst of the pandemic, which is for entertainment purposes. “It’s unfortunate that we had to postpone and cancel our plan on going to concerts for two years straight,” she continues, “So the concerts and festivals ramping up is something I think we should treasure,” says the girl enthusiastically. 

When asked about the health protocol, Divandra admits, numerous people were neglecting the mask mandate. “They (the staff) announced the reminder to wear masks. But unfortunately, many people didn’t comply with the orders,” she emphasized.

But actually, how is the current pandemic situation in Jakarta?

The crowd situation after the Bigbang Ramadan concert. (Endita Lisdayaranti)

According to the Ministry of Health, there were 78 new cases on May 8, 2022. This figure is indeed a drastic decrease from the total number of Omicron cases in Jakarta last February, which was terrifying to all of us. The question is, is this reality enough to prepare the society to decide the coexistence with Covid-19? Is Covid-19 likely to become just an endemic?

Jesse Bloom, a virologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, explains in his own words that “there’s essentially zero chance that SARS-CoV-2 will be eradicated”, reflecting from the most viruses that have been described as endemic viruses by the scientists. Eventually, we don’t really fence off the viruses with quarantines and mask mandate orders; we live with them. Thus, that would be what is most likely to happen with our “relationship” with Covid-19. 

When Covid-19 would officially join the endemic viruses club and we would live with it, our chances of getting reinfected, the magnitude of side effects, all of it depends on the strength of our immune memories and how clearly our bodies remember the vaccine’s power. As Jesse Bloom says in an interview with The New Yorker, “Although some antibody levels stayed high, others fell over time.”

Therefore, coexisting with Covid-19 by attending concerts and gathering with the crowds are indeed the first step for us to accept the remaining existence of Covid-19, until sooner or later, the pandemic title ends as Covid-19 turns into an endemic virus. However, following the orders of health protocol is still pivotal for the sake of the society, since Covid-19 is still characterized as a pandemic by WHO and the government.

Penulis: Chelsea Anastasia

Reporter: Chelsea Anastasia

Editor: Audi Faritz

Foto: 88rising, Liputan6, Endita Lisdayaranti

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