The Bali Arts Festival traditionally starts on the second Saturday of June and runs through the month of July. It is the perfect moment to witness Bali’s wealth of performing arts together with various cultural highlights from other islands in Indonesia. As one of the main highlights in Bali’s calendar of events, the annual celebration features various artworks and cultural achievements, inviting locals and international visitors to the Taman Werdhi Budaya Arts Centre in Denpasar where most of the daily exhibitions and art performances are focused.
On regular days, a visit to the Denpasar Art Centre is a small tour to admire magnificent sculptures and Balinese architectural features as well as a venue of choice for photo shoots with exotic backdrops.
But throughout the Bali Arts Festival in June and July, the compound becomes alive with colourful traditional bamboo and coconut leaf decorations and banners. Crowds gather in front of its open stages, auditoriums and outdoor pavilions to witness a variety of traditional and contemporary dances, shadow puppetry, music compositions and youth competitions that fill the festival agenda. Hundreds of artisans from the Denpasar municipality, Bali’s eight provinces, other neighbouring islands and even art troupes from abroad participate and showcase their talents.
Now in its 38th year, the Bali Arts Festival returns from June 11th to July 9th, 2016 and carries the main theme “Pasuk Wetuning Bhuwana: Maintaining Universal Balance and Synergy”. The weeks’ schedules are often filled with traditional music shows and gamelan recitals at the Ayodya and Angsoka Stage, as well as evening Balinese documentary film screenings at the Ksirarnawa auditorium.
Balinese children’s Gong Kebyar Gamelan jam sessions at the Ardha Candra open-air amphitheatre are also a unique show that has become a highlight over the years, with vocal, musical and dance collaborations presented by gong troupes from Denpasar and the Tabanan regency. Besides the live performances, the yearly event also features handicraft, painting and sculpture exhibitions, together with a traditional culinary festival that presents favourite Balinese dishes. The Bali Arts Festival customarily closes with a lively ceremony comprising an evening traditional ballet known as a ‘sendratari’ held at the Ardha Candra open stage.
Monday to Saturday | 10am – 10pm
Denpasar, Jl. Nusa Indah (at Bali Arts Centre)