Festivals R Us

It’s THE season for organized cultural performances and displays. Extravaganzas like Sanur Village Festival can be great self-guided ventures for your August house guests, and laid-back Tulamben Festival (July 27 – 29) can be a nice excuse to stay a few nights in the northeast and take that wreck dive you’ve been thinking about. Jukung racing, fishing competition, parade, dll.

At all such secular festivals, keep an eye out for yayasans (charities and NGO’s) selling goods to raise funds. As a shopper, you can support those who work selflessly for a better Bali.

Festival Tepi Sawah: 6 – 7 July. Sublime reward for a bit of a trek: culture, workshops and talks, all in a gorgeous paddyside location northeast of Ubud in Pejeng. This intimate but very lively and diverse festival is for nature lovers, art & architecture fans, and world music aficionados. festivaltepisawah.com

Bali Blues Festival, 5th edition already! 13 – 14 July. Huge lineup of rock and blues artists, including my personal faves Balawan and Nosstres. Info: balibluesfestival.com (includes a student discount scheme). Also down in Nusa Dua Peninsula Island: the month-long Nusa Dua Light Festival finishes on 14 July. Promises to be a contemporary (as opposed to traditional Balinese) spectacle of light, water and fire. Rp100K foreigners and Rp30K for locals.

Bali Arts Festival (Pesta Kesenian Bali) ends July 14. Werdhi Budaya Arts Centre’s park-like grounds on Jalan Nusa Indah, Denpasar. Now on daily, 10-ish am to 10-ish pm: curated performances by troupes from all over Bali (and elsewhere), excellent innovators among them, but totally authentic Indonesian creativity in composition and performance. The crafts/arts areas can be superb for sourcing master craftsmen. Schedule posted on the festival grounds. 0361 227176

The man burns on 21 July at Karma Beach Club! Those who can’t commit to the Burning Man community on the playa at Black Rock, Nevada, can go a little wild to the tune of electronic music for Rp500K (300K food credit). Sculpture installations prepared go ablaze on the beach. 2pm to 10pm Info: 0361 8482205

Sanur Village Festival: 21 – 25 August. Plan now for free morning yoga, nightly stage performances, arts & crafts, jukung competition, food stalls, turtle release and tree planting.

Bali Kite Festival is on now through September; the 15 – 18 August series is international. Why curse those jolly troupes of young men slowly hauling massive kites through the streets of windy season Bali, when you can join them on Padang Galak north of Sanur and enjoy the spectacle!

Jembrana’s Makepung buffalo races continue through November. Exciting fortnightly races of beautifully decked-out bovines and their brave owners. Sundays 7:30 am: 15 July Delod Berawah village & 29 July Sanghyang Cerik, Tuwed village.
Want some art-making of your own, including events for youngsters?

The Onion Co (an Ubud café, workspace and hostel) on Jalan Raya Pengosekan opposite the Wine Shop, has their monthly A.R.T. Year all-day event July 28, 11:30 am onwards. Proceeds from a special vegan buffet lunch (Rp100K) go to a worthy local charity. Art & music performances all day long. Family friendly, with artists independently offering hands-on teaching (reasonable separate fees).

Check out the social media sites of Art Geed Art in Ubud. July’s schedule of guided art projects for young and old will be up at this issue date. Balinese painting workshops are a great way to try your hand at traditional styles and motifs, but there’s so much more on offer. Located in Penestenan, Ubud. 085847130941 for info.

Bamboo U, just north of Denpasar, is a super place to enroll in a class on how to create any number of amazing constructions, all from Indonesia’s great grassy resource, bamboo! The Introduction to Bamboo One Day Tour on July 19 might be a great starting point. Also: in-depth workshops or 3 day projects like the 19 July – 21 Intro to Bamboofundamentals course. bamboou.com/the-courses/ or contact 08113896070

News Flash: Among the many musicians who make Bali a regular tour stop, Filastine and Nova have won a lot of hearts here. Brilliant in multiple disciplines and armed with a strong work ethic, this duo’s performances feature elaborate projected images and dynamic musical story telling. The team (he of Barcelona/she of Java) are to set sail from Rotterdam in pinisi Arka Kinari, part lab for environmental research and community outreach, part dockside performance space (sails will act as screen and backdrop), and full-on seaworthy vessel. Gradually visiting various small and large ports, they’ll drop anchor in Bali mid 2020, stopping long enough to perform several times, for all ages. Their funding site offers cash supporters very tempting prizes, including joining the crew for a week, or coming on board for a communal meal. View at fundraising.fracturedatlas.org/arka-kinari/campaigns/2690 and help them get here!

By Renee Melchert Thorpe
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