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Bali Arts Festival 2018
June 16, 2018 - July 14, 2018
Bali’s cultural event of the year, the month-long Bali Arts Festival, will turn the tropical island into a festive and performing arts Mecca for the 40th time this year. The whole of Bali will flock to Denpasar – the island’s capital – to offer dance, music, excitement and a lot of colour, including classical palace dances, forgotten village dances, trances from mountain tribes, food contests, handicraft exhibitions and much more.
Hundreds of performers will showcase the best of the arts in Bali together with artists and performers from Bali’s eight other provinces and neighbouring islands in Indonesia, making it an ideal way to sample the best of Balinese and Indonesian culture in one place.
This year’s theme is ‘Fire, the Spirit of Creation’ and revolves around the idea that fire cannot be separated from human life as a vital life source of energy. From a spiritual point of view, humans must be able to control the fire within by building spiritual strength while keeping negative energy such as anger in check. This fire symbol has always played an important part in ritual ceremonies by Balinese Hindus.
Never been to the Indonesian island? Read Mark Bibby Jackson’s experience : Bali Revisited 20 Years On.
Traditionally, the Bali Arts Festival commences with a spectacular opening ceremony and parade in Denpasar. Most of the daily performances and exhibitions are at the Taman Werdhi Budhaya Arts Centre with some events held in a 6,000 seat amphitheatre. Dance and musical groups from Bali’s many villages will compete fiercely with each other to gain the large audience’s recognition of their uniqueness. Outside of Denpasar, many towns will come alive with traditional bamboo and coconut leaf decorations while outdoor stages host dance and music performances and puppetry.
Some of this year’s highlights include epic dance dramas, modern theatre and contemporary choreography, photography workshops and culinary festivals, while competitions cover documentary film screenings, handicrafts, literature, painting and photography. The festival typically ends with an evening traditional ballet known as ‘sendratari’, held at the Ardha Candra open stage from 8pm.