Music, art, and culture have always been an important part of the Sawahlunto community of West Sumatra. Every year in Sawahlunto, a music festival which presents music from all over the region and world is held to promote cultural diversity and exchange.

The Sawahlunto International Music Festival, or popularly known as Simfes, is a music festival for ethnic, modern, and contemporary music which is held annually in Sawahlunto. The Simfes, opens the way to discourses of unlimited creative ideas in the music world for artists and musicians. The festival showcases the musical diversity and dynamics of various ethnic groups around the world, aiming to facilitate cultural dialogues between nations based on the spirit of idealism.

pemukulan gendang buka simfes 2015 (1)
The opening of Simfes 2015


This idea of this event emerged in 2009. A year later it was realized through the Simfes premiere on 3–5 December 2010. This international event was held the second time on December 2–4 2011. In previous years, Simfes has also helped celebrate Sawahlunto’s commemoration day.

The Simfes appointed two curators to select musicians who will appear in upcoming events. They are Edy Utama, a humanist, observer, and practitioner of arts and culture, and Dr.Hiltrud Cordes from Germany who is also the founder of Kultur Kontakt, an organization which develops cultural cooperation between Indonesia and Germany as well as raise funds for musicians to perform in Europe. In addition to selecting and searching for musicians, the two curators also develop concepts for musical performances with a different theme for every year.

Stierwascher performing at the Simfes 2015

Musical performances organized by Simfes were held for the sixth time in Sawahlunto on 18–20 September 2015. Aside from Indonesian musicians, a number of musicians from various countries also performed at the event. Indonesian musicians include Gilang Ramadhan, while musicians from other countries are the Hereford Hoppers from England and Steev Kindwald from Thailand. Every year, different international musicians perform in the Simfes.

The festival also promotes local musical groups, such as the Forum Kompang of Riau Islands, Arastra of Bengkulu, as well as various musicians from Sawahlunto.

Don’t miss next year’s Simfes to get the ultimate music experience of Sawahlunto.


Visit the Sage II Vacation Home of Sawahlunto.

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