These best festivals in Bali can add much colour to your visit, whether you’re looking for unique moments to capture or immersive gatherings with likeminded individuals. These annual events range from arts and cultural happenings to a rave beach party in one of the world’s top electronic music festivals. Feast your eyes upon the many different facets of Bali’s rich arts and culture through a month-long festival in Bali’s provincial capital of Denpasar, or head down to Sanur in August where the whole coastal village is pretty much alive with a variety of exhibitions and fun and games on the sand that you can also take part in. For something truly unique, witness and participate in the noisy celebrations and fiery parades of papier-mâché ogres before Bali’s ‘day of silence’. See our full list of Bali events here. Dates may vary each year, so do check back often!
1. Bali Arts Festival
The Bali Arts Festival is a cultural treat for lucky visitors who are in Bali until mid July. The 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 complex 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.
2. Bali Kite Festival
The Bali Kites Festival is a series of kiting events that take place annually between July and August (sometimes through October), notably at the start of the windy season. The kite festivals are one of Bali’s major provincial calendar highlights presenting unique cultural scenes on par with the preceding the Bali Arts Festival. The festival is slated for various dates, with main events customarily taking place along the eastern coast of Padanggalak, just north of Sanur. Main preliminary events are usually held near the end of June and confirmed following favourable weather, therefore planning ahead to witness the event is usually a last-minute deal. Hundreds of competing kite troupes gather from all over the island to pilot their traditional kites, alongside international teams with modern kites in various shapes and sizes.
What started off as a seasonal agrarian festival thanking the heavens for abundant crops and harvests, has become a competitive ground for communal ‘banjar’ youth groups who send their ‘sekaa layangan’ kite teams to participate and win prize money from sponsors. A competition is also usually held for ‘new creation’ kites, which may include detailed three-dimensional figures and unusual designs, from Hindu gods, cars and motorbikes, to mascots and brand sponsors. A gamelan orchestra accompanies each troupe, adding to the joyous spirit of the Bali Kites Festival and the drama of take-off and landing sequences.
3. Nyepi Eve
Nyepi Day in Bali is a New Year celebration unlike anywhere else on the planet. Bali’s celebrates the Saka New Year as the Bali Day of Silence, an ultimately quietest day of the year, when all of the island’s inhabitants abide by a set of local rules, which brings all routine activities to a complete halt. Roads all over Bali are void of any traffic and nobody steps outside of their home premises. Most Balinese and visitors regard it as a much-anticipated occasion. Some expats and those coming from neighbouring islands prefer escaping Bali for the day rather, due to restrictions that surround the observance. Some visitors check coinciding dates ahead before their Bali trip, avoiding it altogether. Anyhow, Nyepi is worth experiencing at least once in a lifetime, especially since the preceding and following days offer rare highlights to behold!
4. Galungan and Kuningan
The Balinese celebrate the day of Galungan, which commemorates the triumph of Dharma over Adharma, or good against evil, this April 4 to 6. Second in significance after the Nyepi or Saka New Year, this observance comes twice a Gregorian year, as the Balinese use a 210-day calendar system known as the Pawukon that is the basis for their daily rituals, temple anniversaries and holidays. Galungan is celebrated again on November 1-3.
This year the Galungan festivity starts on a Tuesday on April 4 and November 1, when bamboo poles decorated with young coconut leaf decorations line the streets all over Bali. This is a unique welcome to Bali if you happen to be on the island around this time, and usually lasts until Kuningan, another associated observance that comes 10 days after on April 15 and November 11. Traditionally, Galungan day sees the slaughtering of pigs for communal feasts, as well as baking traditional rice cakes and erecting iconic ‘penjor’ bamboo poles.
5. Nusa Dua Fiesta
Nusa Dua Fiesta 2017 brings back the fun and colourful week of arts exhibitions, cultural performances and sporting events to its namesake luxury beach resort area on Bali’s southeast coast. First held in 1996 as Nusa Dua Festival and becoming a fiesta in its ninth year, it welcomes the general public to this otherwise exclusive tourism enclave, with different shows and events held in various venues throughout Nusa Dua. This year’s Nusa Dua Fiesta kicks off on Wednesday, November 15 with an evening opening ceremony at Nusa Dua’s landmark peninsular area. Earlier in the morning you can admire various handicrafts on display here, as well as unique bonsais and an antique automobile show. In the afternoon, the streets come alive with parades featuring vivid floats from all of the five-star resorts in Nusa Dua’s ITDC complex.
You’ll be able to visit the exhibits throughout the festival’s five days through November 19, and even take home an attractive memento offered at bargain prices. In line with the festival’s spirit of promoting environmental awareness, day two features a beach clean-up along the coastline. Foodies should look out for the cooking competition held by the Indonesian Chefs Association on the same day, as well as a mixology competition where you can sample a sip from the island’s best bartenders. Live entertainment is big at Nusa Dua Fiesta 2017. From the first day to the fifth, every evening you can enjoy live bands which includes national headliners, as well as percussionists and local artists performing world music. There are also fashion shows by designer boutiques and tenants from the Bali Collection, the main shopping complex in Nusa Dua. Don’t miss a chance to watch the spectacular Devdan Show at the adjacent Nusa Dua Theatre on the main stage.
6. Sanur Village Festival
Sanur Village Festival Annual Celebration Of Arts, Culture, Food And The Environment In Sanur, Bali ADD TO TRIP! Sanur Village Festival returns in its 12-year celebration this August 26-30 (tentative), bringing back an anticipated week filled with numerous arts, cultural, food, water sports and environmental-awareness events to the shores of Bali’s otherwise tranquil sunrise coast. With festivities mainly focused in the Maisonette area of the legendary Inna Grand Bali Beach Hotel, the committee of this year’s festival promises to continue on the typical highlights of the previous festivals, with new added activities at various venues around Sanur. This year’s theme, the Sanur Village Festival highlights a bazaar and food festival, fashion shows, expos, tours, culinary challenges, Yoga, sports activities and environmental awareness programs, and it will also highlight an international kite festival, an exotic jukung festival and a Sanur Run.
7. Bali Spirit Festival
Bali Spirit Festival 2017 Annual Festival Of Yoga, Dance And Music In BaliADD TO TRIP!15 Bali Spirit Festival 2017 will see its 10th annual running this March 19-26, once again gathering like-minded yoga instructors and practitioners of all different levels from Bali and around the world. The festival is also a celebration of east and west through world arts, dance and music through colourful concerts and performances. A packed agenda features numerous health and wellbeing workshops held in various yoga centres in Ubud and around Bali. As in its preceding years, Bali Spirit Festival 2017 anticipates over 6,000 festival-goers from various countries, who’ll descend upon the festival’s outdoor festival grounds. This year’s theme is ‘Tri Hita Karana’, a Balinese philosophical axiom that translates to a harmonious relationship spiritually, within society and the natural environment. In all, the festival sets out to foster positive change and spread messages of love and peace toward a global impact.
To join the Bali Spirit Festival 2017 events, there are numerous passes available, including a VIP full festival pass at USD 795 that enables you to enjoy all the five-day festival has to offer. There are also single day passes at USD 156, and if you’re only into the world music and lively concerts, you can go for their three-night and single-day passes to the One World Stage, available at USD 85 and 28 respectively. To get you to venues throughout the five-day festival, make good use of a special shuttle service that take off from different areas within central Ubud, from 07:00 through midnight. These shuttle points include the Ubud Monkey Forest in Padangtegal, Ubud’s soccer field further up on Jalan Dewi Sita, Bali Spirit’s KAFE on Jalan Hanoman, and the ARMA Café located in the Pengosekan area, minutes east from the main Ubud hub.
8. Perang Pandan
Perang Pandan War Dance Ceremony 2017 Unique Annual Cultural Event In East BaliADD TO TRIP!23 Perang Pandan at the village of Tenganan in Karangasem, East Bali, is an age-old tradition unique only to this well-preserved Balinese village in East Bali. Also referred to locally as ‘mekare-kare’ and ‘megeret pandan’, Perang Pandan is a mass coming-of-age ritual, dedicated to the Hindu god of war and the sky, Indra, which sees friendly duels between all male villagers, who bout each other armed with a small rattan shield in one hand and a tied packet of thorny ‘pandan’ leaves in the other. The event is held annually, adhering to its own local calendar. This year, Perang Pandan is held on June 13 and July 11 (tentative dates) in the villages of Tenganan Pegringsingan and Tenganan Dauh Tukad, respectively.
9. Lively Legian Beach Festival
If you choose to stay in Legian around the month of August, be prepared for some festivities along the 700m-long Legian beachfront. Organised by the Legian village community and with support from the Indonesian Tourism Board, the festival features various games, competitions, exhibitions and bazaars over the course of four days. Traditional dances on the sand, surfing lessons for free or at cut prices, art installations, bartending flairs, food trucks and fashion shows, are among the highlights of the event. The rows of booths on the beach showcase many different surf and fashion outlets and restaurants in Legian with attractive discounts on products available.
10. Ultra Beach Festival
Ultra Beach Bali returns to the beachside venue of Potato Head Beach Club in Seminyak, and adjoins the Resistance World Tour, right after Singapore and before heading off to the Philippines. The Bali leg of the Ultra Worldwide Asian calendar is set to bring together electronic digital music enthusiasts and partygoers again last September 15-16, with another live show to remember. Its bumper line-up of big-name EDM DJs includes Afrojack and deadmau5.
Last year’s Ultra Beach Bali debut sold out before the line-up was even announced, and this year it will surely be another packed spectacle. The main Seminyak beachfront venue at Potato Head gears up again with cutting-edge stage production combined with stunning laser and visual effects and, most importantly, quality sound systems to pump out the tracks from the heavyweight performers. Here’s the full line-up of among the world-famous DJs slated to perform this year.
Taken From : Bali-Indonesia.com