Last weekend's eruption of Sileri Crater will not disrupt this year's Dieng Cultural Festival, the organizers said. (Photo courtesy of the Tourism Ministry)

Dieng Cultural Festival to Proceed Despite Eruption of Sileri Crater


JULY 05, 2017

Jakarta. The eruption of Sileri Crater in Banjarnegara district, Central Java, on Sunday (02/07) will not disrupt the eighth Dieng Cultural Festival, scheduled to take place at the Arjuna Temple complex on Aug. 4-6.

Alif Fauzi, chairman of the festival organizing committee, said the eruption took place around 6 kilometers from the main zone on the Dieng Plateau and that this, similar to most past eruptions, involved harmless mud and smoke.

"It was actually harmless, but they [residents and tourists] were panicking. Many of them ran in fear and got injured," Alif said in Wonosobo, Central Java, on Monday.

He said the crater is located in an area known as the secondary zone and that the eruption will not affect the main tourism complex.

"It is in the supporting zone, so it will not disrupt anything. The wounds suffered by visitors were not direct injuries caused by the eruption, but the result of them panicking and falling while running away. The area is covered in gravel," Alif said.

He added that the incident can also become an attraction of its own, similar to the mud eruptions at Sikidang Crater near the Arjuna Temple complex, which attracts visitors.

"It is clearly safe. However, we are monitoring the situation by measuring the sulfur concentration at the crater," Alif added.

The 2017 Dieng Cultural Festival, themed "The Spirit of Culture," will consist of various events.

"The Dieng Cultural Festival has been an annual event organized by the Banjarnegara Tourism Agency, supported by the Ministry of Tourism. It has now become a national event," Alif said.

The committee has so far sold 3,500 tickets for the festival, at Rp 300,000 ($23) each.

"[The ticket price] includes souvenirs for guests. […] Those who have not yet arranged homestay [accommodation] may rent local houses for between Rp 500,000 and Rp 1 million per night," he said.

Tourism Minister Arief Yahya meanwhile praised the efforts by the local authority and residents to restore conditions in the area and to put visitors and festivalgoers at ease.

"It is how we deal with a crisis. Our crisis center has been monitoring round the clock, and the recovery of destinations in Dieng has been swift," Arief said.

"Everything is back to normal, so enjoy visiting and exploring Dieng," he added.

However, the minister advised tourists not to approach Sileri Crater and to stay at least 100 meters from the eruption site.