The month long36th Annual Bali Arts Festival took place in 2014 and showcased the island’s traditional music, dancing and other forms of artistic expressions. Bali’s capital, Denpasar took center stage and hosted over three hundred individual shows in which fifteen thousand students, performers and other members of the community displayed their creative side. The Bali resorts and hotels were brimming with enthusiastic tourists eager to be part of the celebrations. This year’s edition of the Festival will kick off on the 13th of June, book a stay at the Intercontinental Bali Resort to be close to the festivities while also getting to experience the best of Bali’s beaches.
Last year’s event was declared open by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono with a colourful parade through downtown Denpasar. Several key political figureheads were also present honouring the occasion in traditional costume. Many of the shows were held at the Werdi Budaya Art Center in East Denpasar, while other shows were held in separate locations around Bali. The Theme for the year was “Kertamasa: Dynamics of the Agricultural Society towards Universal Happiness”. Each village upheld the theme with traditional performances and workshops that reflected their local trades and cuisines.
The Bali Arts Festival also shone the spotlight on other fascinating aspects of the local art scene like the Bali modern theater; Gong Kebyar Maestro, a genre of Balinese music; photography and the culinary arts. Competitions to select the best film documentaries, handicrafts, literary writing, painting and photography were also a part of the event. Parades and processions including the Parade of Flowers and the Culinary and Fashion Parade took place, among many others. The people of Bali started this festival nearly four decades ago to honour their history and culture and pass it on to future generations. Through the Festival they uphold a philosophy that “Tourism should be for Bali instead of Bali for tourism”. Proceeds from handicraft and food sales are directed to the welfare of each village.
Uditha Dharmawardhane is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Roland Lefevre. He specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe.