A musical competition is a social event as well as a musical one, raising great interest in the community. Its particularly exciting atmosphere, the enthusiasm of both participants and observers, and the social honour bestowed upon the winners encourage the musicians to polish and elaborate their competence and performance styles, and sometimes to create new performance tactics. Previous studies of musical competitions suggest that rivalry and competition in the performing arts—which are deeply rooted in their social settings and carry the creative impulse to transform performing styles—can be found around the world, although their cultural, social, and historical contexts, as well as the changes that result from the competitions, are widely divergent (see Gunderson and Barz 2000; Gunderson 2003). Competitions have also had a significant impact on the development of music in Indonesia, especially in conjunction with official cultural policy. In President Suharto's New Order (Orde Baru) Indonesia, various levels of government held competitions to preserve (melestarikan) and develop (perkembangkan) the traditional performing arts, in accordance with the national cultural policy (Sutton 1991, 1995; Lindsay 1995; Yampolsky 1995; Bakan 1999; Tenzer 2000; Williams 1999,2003; Harnish 2007). This focus on the arts has continued into the period of political reformation (reformasi) since 1998. Competition has been an effective vehicle of cultural ideology through its potential to transform performing style and to change aesthetic value. However, the results of the competition do not always conform to the intentions of the government. A competition involves people with a wide range of purposes and viewpoints, who interpret the event and react to it differently according to their positions, whether as participants, teachers, judges, organizers, or audience members. As R. Anderson Sutton reported regarding the Pekan Kebudayaan Sulawesi Selatan (South Sulawesi Cultural Week) in 1993, festivals or competitions “have contrasting, even conflicting meanings for the different people involved” (Sutton 1995:687). In reality, these various interpretations of the event intertwine to create a tense but influential context for the performing arts.