The RA/KAN festival, which takes place at Dataran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall’s outdoor park in Melaka on June 28 and 29, is a positive step in pushing the historic state towards more indie community-based events that focus on contemporary subcultures.

The two-day (free admission) festival, organised by Kelab Peminat Buah Fikiran, will feature a series of programmes spanning music, arts, poetry, fanzine culture and film screenings. RA/KAN is pronounced “raikan” in Bahasa Melayu or “celebrate it”.

“RA/KAN is all about collaboration. There are 15 people behind Kelab Peminat Buah Fikiran. Not counting the many volunteers helping us out. Most of them are actively involved in four regular (indie event) programmes, which are a part of the Melaka (fringe) scene. These events – #bawabawah, #seleksi, #mindrubdown and #melanggar – were all held separately in previous years, but for RA/KAN, each organiser/curator contributed immensely in shaping their part of the festival programme,” says Abdul Hafidz Adam, a spokesman for RA/KAN and the curator of the music-related #mindrubdown.

In a tourist-centred Melaka city, it has been a constant struggle to create a platform for contemporary arts.

But Hafidz remains optimistic that things can change, with a nationwide DIY arts network helping out.

“The Ipoh arts scene has given many of us the inspiration to create something for ourselves … it’s not easy, but we must try,” he says.

The CORM arts space in Jasin, which was established in 2012, has been largely responsible in nurturing a non-mainstream community in Melaka.

“In the long run, we want to create an awareness towards DIY communities and alternative (art) spaces, which have been growing steadily in the past few years. There are many youthful and exciting communities in Melaka, all of them working on cool projects and things. There are artists, poets, bands, DIY craft and merchandise brands, distros and small record labels … all they need is some exposure to push them forward,” he adds.

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RA/KAN is also hosting the first Melaka Zine Festival (#MLKZF), with 25 booths lined up. Photo: Filepic

Hafidz hopes the RA/KAN festival will work as a catalyst to put Melaka on the map alongside non-mainstream festivals such as the Ipoh Kreative and Festival Kolektif events in Ipoh and the KL Zine X DIY Festival.

On June 29, the #bawabawah session at 2pm will feature the Seni Dan Budaya: Indikator Pembangunan Komuniti talk. The panel includes Melaka-born filmmaker/writer Nasir Jani, writer Anas Mohd, arts activist Redwan Fadil and radio presenter Haniff Baharudin.

For the filmmaking crowd, the #seleksi programme runs over two days, with short films, DIY projects and documentaries.

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Filmmaker Nasir Jani is part of the #bawabawah culture discussion on June 29. Photo: Filepic

The #mindrubdown session takes place from 8pm on June 29, featuring indie and experimental bands such as Playburst, Vials, Loch, Epilogue, Fall Asleep and National Next.

Poetry readings, devised theatre and performance art are part of the #melanggar programme that starts at 11am on June 29. It features fringe artistes such as Nanawrote, EJ Safari, Mucky, Musalman Toya, Petak Daud and Jasad Bersiong.

RA/KAN is also hosting the Melaka Zine Festival (#MLKZF), with 25 booths lined up.

“This will be the first DIY zine festival ever held in Melaka. It’s a start and we’re very excited to have so many zine publishers and distros from outside Melaka participating,” says Hafidz.

RA/KAN is held in conjunction with National Youth Day (Hari Belia Negara) and is supported by Ministry of Youth and Sports. The festival runs between 3pm and midnight on June 28, while the programmes on June 29 run between 9am and midnight.