Gypsy Land Festival

Q&A with creator Kai Suteja

by: Ainsley Hutchence

10 Photos & video
Location: Gypsy Land Festivals / Interviewee: Kai Suteja / Interviewer: Sticks and Stones

Gypsy Land Festival

In the midst of organising Bali’s largest techno music festival – Gypsyland (Jul 10th-11th), we thought we would catch up with Kai Suteja, the mastermind behind the event that promises sensory overload for less than the cost of an uber & encourages a cultural shift in a country that is predominantly Muslim.

“The festival is hosted in Bali, which may offer the answer to the freer self-expression. If the festival were hosted in Jakarta, it is likely that government regulatory bodies such as Front Pembela Islam (FPI) would condemn the fashionable choices of attendees & more than likely shut the event down.

It is also incredibly important to note that there are Indonesian attendees identifying as non-binary, which is still illegal in Indonesia. This is a HUGE shift in culture. The festival showcases the cultural shift in the youth of Asia as they move towards a more liberal culture.”

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Sticks & Stones: What inspired you to create Gypsyland Festival?
In terms of bush doofs, there was nothing going in Bali. I myself am a big fan of bush doofs & Bali is the actual capital of Australia, so it just made sense – why not do a bush doof in Bali?

Sticks & Stones: What is the strangest thing you have witnessed at Gypsyland Festival?
It’s in Australian culture to be drunk & break shit. We spent a fuck load on props the first festival & everything got destroyed by the end of the night. There was this cute 3m tall flower bunny which had been ripped to shreds, people destroyed the maze to set up tents to fuck in & there was this huge disco ball which I saw a girl stand on top of and fucking walk it out of the festival (I wasn’t even mad, I was just impressed). Here’s an old interview with some people who went to the first festival.

Sticks & Stones: Why should people come to Gypsyland Festival?
Without a doubt, it is the most hektik festival you’ll ever go to for only $30. A fucking uber cost more than a ticket. Suss these videos of last year to see what goes down. We’re adding in a motocross track this year with some 50cc dirt bikes anyone can ride.

Sticks & Stones: Best memory from Gypsyland festival?
I met my girlfriend at Gypsy Land, I sent her a DM & gave her a free ticket. She was only on holiday and lived in Paris, she ended up moving to Bali & she’s been to every Gypsy Land ever since. We actually had a pink chapel at the first festival but we never went inside because I’m an awkward cunt.

Sticks & Stones: How stressed are you on a scale of 1-10 on the eve of a Gypsyland Festival. 1 being who gives a fuck & 10 being what the fuck am I doing?
10/10 would not recommend. I don’t think people understand that I risk everything for these events. There’s so much that can go wrong that’s out of your control, we’ve got volcanoes, rain, earthquakes, terrorism & politics which all result in a huge drop in attendees. Financially, everything is dumped into this event & if you don’t pull the numbers you’re fucked & you’ll spend the next twenty years of your life paying off debt. There’s also your reputation, if this thing flops you’re just seen as a failure & no one is going to recognise your past achievements – you’ll just be known as that guy that kooked it.

Sticks & Stones: What has the response to Gypsyland Festival been like in the media, from other festival organisers & from festival-goers?
Initially, we were definitely seen as the next Fyre Festival, but we’re now the largest techno festival in Indonesia so suck eggs cunts. One of my proudest moments was walking through the festival & overhearing these two dudes just go “this is the best festival I have ever been to”. That shit made my heart melt & it really felt like I had actually done something with my life.

Sticks & Stones: How big is your Gypsyland team & what jobs do you personally handle?
The first festival was just me & my buddy. I worked my ass off, I didn’t take a salary for a year & just had this shit house HP laptop which I’d work out of cafes on. I’m fucking so thankful & fortunate that the first festival was a success & it’s really allowed the company to grow. We now employ eight full-time staff, we’re all really close & it’s like a little family. These days I mainly focus on the creative side but still manage the overall project & will assign all the required tasks to be completed from start to finish. Pro-tip: if you’re running a business download Asana, it’ll make your team so much more efficient.

Sticks & Stones: When I attend my first Gypsland festival (hopefully this year) what do I need to mentally prepare myself for & what should I wear?
Go 100% vegan gluten-free with maximum aligned chakras & do crystal (not meth) but the healing ones.

Sticks & Stones: Am I too old to attend Gypsyland festival? (turning 36 in May).
This is a photo of someone’s mum having a skitz time. You’re never too old to have fun.

Sticks & Stones: What does the future look like for Gypsyland Festival?
Hopefully a lot like Burning Man, I’ll keep on truckin’ until we’re on par with the best.

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