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Bali Arts Festival, Balinese Culture Parade & Venue

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Bali Arts Festival
Bali Arts Festival is an annual cultural event held by Bali Government. Img: Danikristianw

Tourists visiting Bali around June and July can consider themselves lucky. During those months, the provincial government of Bali holds a one-month long cultural expo. Pesta Kesenian Bali, or Bali Arts Festival, is a grand event celebrating Balinese culture. It’s a much-anticipated event held every year at Denpasar.

Bali Arts Festival has been a part of Bali identity since its inauguration in 1979. Its main mission is to preserve Balinese cultural values as well as to promote them. Either for tourists as well as to young generations. There will be parades, musical shows, dance performances, and many more sub-activities.

For the art and culture event. The participants are representatives from every district and town in Bali. Thousands of artists take pride in contributing to this mega-event. Millions more, locals and tourists alike, join as an audience.

Costume Parade Bali Arts Festival
Bali Arts Festival Main Event, Costume Parade. Img: Bayu Mahardika

Aside from Balinese arts, visitors will get a glimpse of tradition from other provinces in Indonesia. During the 2018 event itself. There were also representatives from Japan, Thailand, and India contribute to the art event.

The Breath of Life

This year’s theme is Bayupramana. Bayu translates into “wind” or “air” while pramana is “strength” in a literal sense. Together, Banyupramana means the breath of life. The air believed as vital energy, significant to the life and controls everything. In Bali Arts Festival 2019. Expect all the performances to implement Bayupramana spirit for their art concept and choreography.

Theatrical Performance Bali Art Festival
Theatrical Dance Performance from Local Artist. Img: Guti Agus

The Main Parade of Bali Arts Festival

The parade of Bali Arts Festival is the top and main event of this festival. Last year, it’s the Indonesian president Joko Widodo himself opened the event. Marking the start of the culture parade. One by one, representatives from all 10 cities of Bali marched in their colorful costumes.

Musicians played traditional instruments ‘gamelan’ to accompany the procession. People flocked into the street, didn’t want to miss the whole thing. This year, anticipate the same enthusiasm from both the participants and the audience. It’s safe to say that there will be music parades. The traditional costumes show-off, dance performances as it were last year.

In 2018, the parade was concluded by a wonderful theatrical performance of Smaradahana. An old poem about love and devotion. This year, also expect nothing less when it comes to art performances.

Opening ceremony bali arts festival
Bali Arts Festival opening ceremony last year. Img: Bayu Mahardika

Bali Arts Festival Parades & Thematic Ones

It’s hard to miss the opening parade since the event practically puts Balinese daily life on hold. But if visitors somehow miss the first-day parade, fear not. There will be more parades throughout the one month of this event. Ngelawang parade, for example, exhibits a ritual on Balinese holiday Galungan.

During Ngelawang, children parade mythological creature “barong” around the village to repel bad luck. At Arja parade, get to know about Balinese folk opera called Arja. It’s a complex performance, combining all sort of performance arts in one stage.

Watch as talented performers dance, sing, reciting poetry or even do pantomime acts. Arja performance is also popular among people for its comedic touch – expect to get some laugh while watching it.

PKB Event
Participants during the Bali Arts Event Parade. Img: Flickr/Ketut Sukandia

Puppet Show Wayang Kulit Babad

Puppet show Wayang Kulit Babad is a rare form of Balinese Wayang. So when this puppet show is scheduled to perform during Bali Arts Festival. Don’t miss the opportunity to watch one.

The storyline of Wayang Babad is specifically taken from Babad Bali. The ancient book of Balinese culture. Pay attention as the “Dalang” or the puppeteer, narrates a story about justice, wisdom, and courage. All inspired by the classic Babad stories.

Colossal Sendratari Balinese Theatrical Show

Sendratari is a type of traditional theatrical show. It’s an act, usually accompanied by gamelan music and incorporate some dances in it. Plots and storylines take inspirations from Balinese folklore such as “Manik Angkeran” (The Origin of Bali Strait).

Bali Arts Festival Festive Parade
Last year festive parade. Img: Bayu Mahardika

At the Bali Arts Festival, art studios and art schools from all corners of Bali. Will compete to deliver the most elaborate performance possible. Watch as hundreds of performers delivering one story alone, the scale of it will leave any visitor in awe.

Bali Arts Festival Competitions

Be more than just an audience. By signing in one of the competitions at the Bali Arts Festival. There are painting competition and craft competition. Among the few, visitors can participate.

If not sure about having the talent to draw or sculpt. It’s still fun to just visit watch how it’s going with the competition. Discover raw talents. As young aspiring artists concentrating hard to produce the best artworks worthy to be a winner.

See: Sanur Night Market, Culinary Experience & Cheap Food.


Exhibitions in the Bali Arts Festival showcase both traditional and contemporary arts. Come to see the exhibition of Batuan paintings. A type of painting originated from Batuan Village Bali. A workshop also takes place during the event. Introducing visitors first hand on how to paint Batuan style.

Grab the painting tools – it’s provided by the organizer. And go through the six steps of Batuan painting technique. Other exhibition events include fashion show exhibit all about the Balinese. That include traditional clothing, documentary movies screening, and body painting.

Arts & Culture From The Faraway Land

For the past few years, Bali Arts Festival has been expanding its pool of participants. No longer limited to Bali. Participants from other provinces and other countries also enliven the Bali Arts Festival. This means more variety and more things to see.

Provinces such as Nusa Tenggara will perform Bima regional arts. Special performance only at the Bali Arts Festival stage. Guests from aboard. For example, the performers from India manage to rock the Bali Arts Festival stage. With their upbeat music and dances. Meanwhile, Thailand’s Chiang Mai University students delivered a theatrical show inspired by epics Mahabharata.

Bali Arts Festival Venue and Schedule

Bali Arts Festival is scheduled to be held from 15 June to 31 July. The event mainly takes place at Werdhi Budaya Culture Centre, Denpasar. No ticket is necessary for attendance and participation. Events and activities at the Bali Arts Festival are free to everyone.

Bali Arts Festival Venue & Schedule
Time15 June – 31 July 2019
VenueWerdhi Budaya Culture Center
PriceFree Entry

Nearby: Bali Provincial State Museum, Collection & Entrance Fee.

How To Get To Bali Arts Festival Venue

Taman Werdhi Budaya is situated at the heart of Denpasar. To get there, follow this route from Kuta: Kuta – Raya Kuta Road – Imam Bonjol Street – Teuku Umar Street – Diponegoro Street – Hayam Wuruk Street. It only needs a 25-minutes drive. Visitors best use a rented motorcycle to get there. A car is not recommended as the road will be blocked to make way for the parade.

Using public transportation, visitors can hop into Trans Sarbagita Corridor 1 passing by Ngurah Rai Bypass. Stop near KFC Sanur and continue the rest of the journey by motorcycle taxi (it’s still 4 km left). The fare for the bus is IDR 3500 per passenger. Meanwhile, the motorcycle taxi costs around IDR 15k.


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