Homegrown & Well Known: AGUSTINA ARDIE

Where there’s an uber-cool party, there’s Tina Ardie. (Well, her presence makes the cool party become uber-cool.) Fluent in Indonesian, English and German, her love of theatre has laid her foundation in organizing events and becoming one of the most respectable names in event management in Bali. Her life motto “give and live large and beautiful” has created a solid foundation for her network in “The Beautiful People” circle locally and internationally and has helped her make the magazine she cofounded one of the most successful lifestyle media on the island. Her brightness and leadership since being a student at Jakarta International School and on has helped her to pave her way to being a key figure in the entertainment industry, both in Bali and Indonesia.

How did you start getting involved in entertainment industry?

Well, I always did love theatre—got involved in every [Jakarta International School] play I could! One summer in high school I got to attend the prestigious Boston University Theatre Institute, which was excellent preparation for both public presentation and organizing large-scale productions. But all those experiences laid the foundation for what I have been and currently do in this industry. I think my first big event in Bali was an event at Nyang Nyang, Uluwatu, called “Spectrum”, where 3000 people danced the dawn in to righteous beats! The Yak was actually born from a late night, perhaps vino-fuelled night, with Michelle Lamb-Tjahjono and Sophie Digby, where it was decided from the get-go that between us we could produce a Bali-based, Bali-infused international lifestyle mag. Perhaps we were slightly tipsy, but we were right

It seems like where there’s a (cool) party there you are. I bet you know almost every die-hard party goers in Bali. Is this for business purpose or fun or both?

Ah, well, fun is how it all starts and how it should end, right? What are we here for but to be happy and create and enjoy good times with others? So it’s both fun and business. It can be a challenge to establish and maintain the highest standards and professionalism but make sure everyone has a joyous time—but this is my life right now, and it is possible.

I remember you used to run F Lounge back in the day. I think it had a great concept and excellent music selection. But it didn’t work out. What happened?

Some super places and ideas have their time and place. Even our famed Double Six had its wonderful run, right? It was the first underground music lounge/concept that wasn’t a superclub, but still had big-name DJs drawing epic nights, and also cozy weeknight community parties creating Bali’s underground sound happenings… These spawned alternative musical movements such as Disko Africa, kick starting the soul movement here. I still endeavour to bring this community atmosphere into my current events, no matter how large or international—it’s what keeps it fun, familiar, neighborly, but still an out-of-this-world, galactic experience!

Do you plan to run or own your own club, payback time?

Ah, no, been there done that three times here over the last 16 years in Bali—it was great then, fantastic experiences, but I’d rather develop and expand international standard and level events that draw positive tourism to this beautiful island. Concerts, festivals, and other annual events that highlight Bali as a friendly, high-level, top international destination for partygoers and those interested in community and culture alike.

How do you see the entertainment industry here in Bali? No more Double Six, no more rave parties. Don’t you miss those days where thousands of people were having fun dancing?

It’s keeping up with global trends—the idea of the hyperclub has gone away, although that’s spawned a number of more intimate, niche-type venues that cater to different tastes, and I think these can incorporate lovely Balinese aspects and, when managed responsibly, also have a softer impact on the infrastructure and environment, even promoting ‘green’ practices and choices, for example. And the large, outdoor rave atmosphere is still captured in events such as The Junction Festival, which nevertheless employs several venues over several days for an all-weekend, seemingly never-ending cascade of groovy beats and good times.

When it comes to clubs and parties, what makes Bali different compare to, let’s say, Jakarta?

Jakarta follows cutting-edge global trends and keeps a sharp eye out for sophisticated fashion and branding, which is a major aspect of the club scene there. Bali similarly has its thumb on international beats, but loves a good moonlit beach bash in batik as much as evening jazz cocktails at a top bar. It’s continuing to establish itself as an international destination for top acts and events.

Now let’s get personal, what’s your 3 all-time favorite albums and why?

Dennis Ferrer, The World As I See It: amazing poetic lyrics, vocals that soothe you or put you in the mood—whatever you want that mood to be!
And Sting’s first major solo album after the Police, The Dream of the Blue Turtles: “If You Love Someone, Set Them Free”—wow, enough said!
Then Mary J. Blige, What’s the 411: memories of my fading youth while I was in graduate school in Sydney, but growing into who I am professionally.

Also three all-time favorite movies and why?

The Fifth Element—space opera extravaganza with a social message AND the ultimate power of love! This is what I want my life to be about!
The Year of Living Dangerously—a reminder of Indonesia’s dark days and what we want to emerge better from.
Airplane—can’t stop laughing, no matter how many times I watch it.

Any last nagging words?

Life’s too short… live and give large and beautiful.

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*Photos #2 and #3 by Fiorenzo Nisi, of PhotoFio, http://www.photografio.com
*This interview was firstly published on The Beat (Bali) #309, April 2012

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