Turning the spotlight to the beautiful island of Belitung in the province of Bangka-Belitung off the south eastern coast of Sumatra, the Land of the Rainbow Troops Festival will be held from 21st to 23rd October 2016 at Tanjung Pandan, capital city of Belitung Regency.
The event is also held coinciding with the Sail Karamata Rally and the arrival of yachts in the Sail Indonesia and Sail2Indonesia boat rallies from Down Under, which is expected to attract hundreds of yachts to West Kalimantan. The yachts will then cross the strait to Belitung and on to Bintan to attend the Carang River Festival and closing ceremony before departure to Singapore.
Centered at the Satam Roundabout, right at the heart of Tanjung Pandan, the main highlight of the festival will be the mass dance performance entitled “The Tin Miners” to involve no less than 750 dancers. The dance performance and the festival in general has been inspired by the best-selling novel and movie franchise “Laskar Pelangi” or “The Rainbow Troops” written by Belitung born author Andrea Hirata. The Book itself won the General Fiction category Award at the prestigious New York Book Festival in 2013.
For a full 3 days, the festival will showcase a wide variety of traditional and contemporary dance and musical performances, and a festive cultural parade. Involving various art groups on the island, this year the festival will also feature performances like Barongsai (the Chinese Lion Dance), the Barong Dance from Bali,and the Kuda Lumping dance from West Java, and more.
The main feature of “The Tin Miners” mass dance will involve hundreds of dancers who are predominantly school children. To visualize the traditional tin mining activities that still take place to this day, the kids will be painted in various rainbow colors. Not only reminiscent of the tale of the rainbow troops, the dance will also act as a tribute to tin as a commodity that had long been the source of welfare for the island. Moreover, the dance will also remind the younger generations that there are many other alternatives to take in life since the tin industry has entered its sunset phase.
Previously known as The Rainbow Troops Festival, this year the event has chang edits name to The Land of the Rainbow Troops Festival. The festival was first held in 2010 at Gantong, in East Belitung initiated by none other than Andrea Hirata himself who also contributed the idea of holding the colossal dance performance. After two years hiatus, the second edition of the festival was held in 2013 at Tanjung Pandan and continues to be held annually here to this day.
Once known mainly as a mining island that produced some of the world’s best tin, quartz sand, and Kaolin, the Laskar Pelangi movie revealed the enchanting beauty of Belitung Island that that had long been overlooked. Its unique landscape, decorated with pearly white sand beaches, crystal clear water, and imposing granite stone formations along its shallow shores, are some of the best attractions of the island.
The most distinct features of the Belitung Beaches are indeed the huge granite rock formations that spread across its shallow shores. Ranging from several meters high, these giant granite rocks can equal the size of a typical house. Some formations of these giant boulders may even have short tunnels below, making this an exciting playground for visitors to bathe in its calm waters. One of the most iconic granite rock beach sceneries is found at the Tanjung Tinggi Beach, which was featured in the Laskar Pelangi movie.
When in Belitung do not miss the iconic old lighthouse on Lengkuas Island by Tanjung Kelayang. This area is planned to become a huge integrated tourism resort.