Bali’s tropical vibe makes the best ambience for festive celebration. Whether you come for a quaint getaway or fun activity-filled holiday, there are always several exciting communal events going on each year in the island. Here we have carefully curated 8 of the best annual festival in Bali. Don’t forget to put them on your bucket list!
1. Bali Art Festival
Locally known as Pekan Kesenian Bali (PKB), Bali Art Festival has been a successful vessel to preserve and promote the rich of Balinese culture and art to international spectators. Held in Badung regency each year, Bali Art Festival is a full month of daily performances, exhibitions and other related cultural and commercial activities. From June 15th to July 13th, Taman Werdhi Budaya Art Center will become an exhibition ground once again for Bali’s grand cultural party. With the main theme “Bayu Pramana” (Glorifying Wind as the Source of Power), there will be 7 essential aspects of the festival; namely cavalcade, parade, tournaments, shows, workshop, exhibition and sarasehan (conference). The festival will begin with the iconic Grand Parade that travels from Bajra Sandhi Puputan field in Renon and ends at the Denpasar Art Centre, featuring participant from various regency dressed in their regional dress accompanied by a gamelan orchestra. Indonesian President Ir. Joko Widodo himself has confirmed to open this amazing cultural celebration at Art Center’s Ardha Chandra convention room on the June 15th.
2. Bali Spirit Festival
To embrace your inner ‘Namaste’, Bali Spirit Festival is a definite event to go. Here, you can gather with likeminded yoga instructors and practitioners of all different levels from the island, beyond and abroad at this vibrant communal celebration. On March 24-31st, the annual Bali Spirit Festival returned for its 12th consecutive year at Purnati Center of the Arts, Ubud, with several engaging activities including (but not limited to) the aforementioned yoga, meditation, dance, breath-work, healing and authentic relating. If you missed it, make sure to mark this unique celebration in your to-go-list next year.
3. Bali Blues Festival
Blues is said to be the roots of all modern music, and no wonder Bali wish to take part in celebrating that aspect through Bali Blues Festival. Held at Peninsula Island on July 13-14th next month, Nusa Dua, the music festival will showcase the best blues talent once again; both local and international. Since first commenced on 2014, the festival has gathered around 1500 music head to come and enjoyed the best performance from various virtuoso with names such as Gugun Blues Shelter ft. Emmy Tobing, Balawan & Maxell Reunion, Bali Blues Brother ft. Gus Teja, Glambeer, The Bardogs, Crazy Horse, The Ratrocker, Blues Community, and Endah N Rhesa. This year, there are rumor that John Mayer will be headlining the event. So keep your eyes (and ears) peeled for a fantastic surprise!
4. Sanur Village Festival
Every year around the month of August, the sleepy coastal village of Sanur comes to life for its very own week-long celebration; Sanur Village Festival (SVF). The festival highlights a grand bazaar where dozens of food vendors opens their stall and serve their best signature delicacies. But that’s not all; SVF is also used as a platform to embrace environmental programs, cultural show, contemporary music performance, dance, fashion show, art exhibitions, sport competitions and many more.
5. Bali Kite Festival
Kites have been one of the most significant aspects in Balinese culture. During windy season around July to August, expect to see the skies filled with gigantic kites (called Janggan) in vibrant shape and color. The handmade kites are particularly huge that it usually takes around six male to fly them (and they usually brought it on a pickup truck!). If you spot one on the road, chances are they are going to attend the Bali Kite Festival, which annually held on the Eastern coast of Padanggalak beach. The festival, which started as a tradition to thank the gods for abundant harvest, now became a competitive ground for communal Balinese ‘banjar’ youth groups, who send their best ‘sekaa layangan’ kite teams to participate and win prize money. A competition is also usually held for ‘new creation’ kites; which include detailed three-dimensional figures and unusual designs; ranging from Hindu gods, cars, motorbikes, to mascots, cartoon figure and brand sponsors. A gamelan orchestra usually accompanies each troupe to add the joyous spirit and dramatic take-off.
6. Ogoh-Ogoh Festival
Held exactly one day before Silent ‘Nyepi’ Day, on a night called ‘Pangerupukan’, Ogoh-Ogoh Festival is a fascinating ritual done by Balinese Hindu where thousands of giant puppets are paraded around the island by dozens of ‘banjar’ men on a makeshift bamboo platform. It is said to chase away evil spirits and purifying Bali’s spiritual atmosphere by inviting the spirits to get inside the puppets, as they will literally be burned immediately afterwards. Not just a simple puppet, Balinese youth really express their creativity through Ogoh-Ogoh creation. Don’t be surprises if amongst the pretty goddess and horrible demons you may spot some Japanese anime figure like Pikachu or Doraemon, or basically anyone that catch their attention; including politician and controversial public figures. The best Ogoh-Ogoh creation in recent years use advanced hydraulic system to make their puppet’s head and joints ‘move’, controlled by smartphone apps. Rads!
7. Nusa Dua Light Festival
Another unique celebration to illuminate your holiday moment, Nusa Dua Light Festival (NDLF) brought together thousands of lampoons in majestic shapes. From May 30th to July 14th, invite your family, especially the little ones to come and enjoy the night with dreamy ambience at Nusa Dua’s Peninsula Island. From radiant meadow to giant dragon (and oriental temple!), we guarantee that you would rarely witness lampoon creation in such ambitious scale and size at NDLF. Mark the date because it’s going to be one of the highlight of your holiday! (No pun intended).
8. Berawa Beach Festival
One of the latest additions to the island festival scene, Berawa Beach Festival (BBF) comes with a cause, and they want to make an everlasting impact. Commenced as an effort to raise creative activities for the coastal community, especially at the North Kuta, BBF gives spaces for any transformation and creative innovation in both personal and communal expression. Through the aesthetic experience, the community is encouraged to be able to develop their potentials and also to promote the tourism destination by plowing the local wisdom of the coastal culture. The event will feature several aspects; including art exhibitions, musical performance, bazaar, communal tribute to fun competition for all ages. BBF took the internet and social media by storm in the last few weeks, mainly because of that mesmerizing giant octopus mascot that they build out of rattan wood on the side of a beach at Tibubeneng village. The Berawa Beach Festival has opened on May 23rd, and will still be around until May 26th, so stop by soon if you want to have a wonderful, inspiring celebration (and snap a picture with Mr. Mega-Octopus).