The Biggest Events in Bali You Cannot Miss
From July to December this year, Bali’s calendar of events is marked by quite a number of artistic festivals that allow you to indulge in unique festivities. From arts and culture, music, sports, and of course, parties in some of the island’s finest establishments, we have rounded up Bali’s major events for you take part in.
23 June – 21 July
BALI ARTS FESTIVAL
Held annually, Bali Art Festival was first held in 1979 by the late Professor Ida Bagus Mantra. The main purpose of this festival is to preserve Balinese art, music, and literature, gaining a strong base for national identity. Now, combining emerging international arts with local culture, Bali Art Festival has become the creative event of the year with its parade, exhibition, and worksop.
4 – 7
TWIN LAKE FESTIVAL
Located in front of the Ulun Danu Buyan Temple at Pancasari Village, Sukasada and Ulun Danu Tamblingan at Munduk Village, Banjar, Twin Lake Festival is aimed to introduce original Buleleng agricultural products – the name “Twin Lake” refers to the Buyan Lake and Tamblingan Lake. The festival creates opportunities for visitors to try the seafood selection and locally grown exotic fruits. With its Bull Races Parade, traditional game Gangsing Competition, Fruit Arrangement Competition, and Handy Craft Exhibition, the festival offers entertaining ways to spend your time in Bali. The people of Buleleng perform traditional, unique sports at one of the events.
6 – 8
SANUR MOSTLY JAZZ FESTIVAL 2018
Jazz is getting some love in Sanur, courtesy of the 2nd annual Sanur Mostly Jazz Festival by the beach. The festival will take place this coming July 6 – 8 in Griya Santrian Beach Resort and Spa and is set to feature a diverse mix of artists. Similar to the 2017 festival, on the last day Indra Lesmana Surya Sewana will perform a special sunrise jazz performance right on the shores of the famous Sanur beach. In conjunction with the 13th annual Sanur Village Festival — the Sanur Mostly Jazz Festival was made possible in part by founder of Mostly Jazz couples, Indra and Hon Lesmana, and IB Sidharta Putra, General Manager of Griya Santrian and Chairman of Sanur Village Festival. The festival also aims to develop Sanur’s potential in terms of its natural resource, intellect and human resource within a modern quality music performance space that appreciates ethics and tradition. The Mostly Jazz series at Griya Santrian has a long and emblematic jazz line up, having showcased more than 50 jazz legends (www.sanurmostlyjazz.com).
12 – 14
MERTASARI BEACH FESTIVAL
From art and cultural as well as live music programmes to yoga and meditation classes and plenty of fun activities right on the beach, this year’s Mertasari Beach Festival will also showcase the Sanur Ambassador pageant.
TANAH LOT FESTIVAL
A exceptional event taking place on the 18th July in one of Bali’s most popular attractions, Tanah Lot Festival will be packed with art performances, highlighting different types of Balinese dance among others.
27 – 29
This East Bali event will highlight a variety of competitions, exhibitions and art and culture parades. Traditional Jukung wooden boat races using wind power will also be held to showcase the skills of the local fishermen.
W Bali – Seminyak brings back its hottest summer series event, SPF 2018. Carrying the theme “Summer Crush” this year’s SPF presents Derrick Carter and Tensnake as main headliners. Derrick has been widely acknowledged as one of the better DJs of the world. With innovative productions, consummate technical skills and an effortlessly joyful attitude of rocking a crowd, his impact has infiltrated throughout the spectrum of dance music. Although known as one of the key players of Chicago’s ‘90s house music wave, he actually began DJing at the age of nine, spinning disco, funk and blues records at family reunions. So naturally, he often travels outside standard club tastes, incorporating bits of disco, soul, jazz, new wave, and whatever else catches his fancy. SPF 2018 is part of the original series of WET Deck events by W Hotels Worldwide where 60 properties of W Hotels across the world will celebrate the taste of summer with the hottest line ups.
For more info an reservation call +62 361 4738 106.
BEAT BY THE OCEAN
Dive into the ocean beats and give in to the groove as live percussion teases your ear buds whilst cocktails and sensational view excite your sight at S.K.A.I. Beach Club from 5.30 – 7.30pm on Saturdays throughout July.
HIT YOUR TONE
Are you ready to be one of the coolest people in Bali to dance to your own choice of vinyl? If you are, head to S.K.A.I. Beach Club on Sundays throughout July for the special Hit Your Tone event. See you on the dance floor!
For more info and reservation for these events call +62 361 752 111.
Mid July – August
BALI KITE FESTIVAL
Always anticipated by both residents and visitors to Bali, Bali Kite Festival is a series of kiting events that starts during the windy season. The festival is delightful for all ages, providing creative competitions such New 3D Kite Creations and performing melodious Gamelan orchestras to the guests.
2 – 6
Exploring the arts and cultures of North Bali, Buleleng Festival integrates crucial parts of life such as education, social, and environment. It’s a celebration of agriculture, photography, culinary, and literary exhibitions. With a different theme every year, the festival is a gateway to gather with the Buleleng community and be one with the culture. Here you can also explore the North Bali typical culinary dishes, witness the parade of Gong Kebyar, and celebrate book launches by local writers from Bali.
10 – 11
UBUD VILLAGE JAZZ FESTIVAL
After 5 successful years, the Ubud Village Jazz Festival (UVJF) returns again this year carrying the theme “Freedom of Expression”, welcoming many legendary figures from the Indonesian archipelago and abroad, who will come to perform and share their most recent arrangements with the public at Arma Museum Garden.
MAKEPUNG RACE (MAYOR CUP)
Makepung is one of the unique traditions stemmed from the agrarian life scene of the island, and is a widely enjoyed event in the regency of Jembrana, West Bali. The widely known race of water buffalos is a colourful spectacle and the race course is about 2 kilometres. Here, the farmers and their buffalos come to race for honour, pride and the trophies, rather than for money.
22 – 26
SANUR VILLAGE FESTIVAL
The 13th annual Sanur Village Festival (SVF 2018) aims to facilitate and develop the Sanur community’s creativity and achieve creativity and tourism synergy. Themed “Mandala Giri”, which literally means circle and mountain, this year’s festival refocuses on Mount Agung, where its eruption back in November 2017 created a reflection of humanity and closeness to nature that must be embraced and become a part of the Sanur community’s spirit of creativity.
24 – 26
TIRTA GANGGA FESTIVAL
Held in the island’s celebrated Tirta Gangga Water Palace, Tirta Gangga Festival’s theme is always related to water and life. During the festival, the stage is built around the water garden, where amazing talents from the local villagers perform poetry, dances, and play music. The three-day festival is a mix of installation art, landscape painting, and theatre including creative competitions to encourage young people’s passion and talents. As part of Bali’s main attractions, Tirta Gangga Water Palace has a large square pool decorated with Buddhist gods and goddesses and an elegant, tiered Nawa Sanga fountain. The one-hectare property located on the outskirt of Amlapura in its well-known current state, was built in 1948 by the last king of Karangasem.
15 – 17
UJUNG WATER PALACE FESTIVAL
This three-day festival features a cultural parade by the local youth community, art installations around the square Dirah pool, and Mebat competition. Visitors can experience the spacious park at the water palace and the festivity, relaxing on the grass while enjoying the performances.
20 – 23
Held in Kalibukbuk and Kaliasem villages, Lovina Festival reflects the beauty of Lovina Beach with its sparkling black sand and breathtaking sunset. During the festival you can enjoy collaborative music performances, Bungbung traditional dance, puppet shows, cultural parades around the villages in Lovina, and even party at Kaliasem Beach. The festival highlights are the fireworks show and the cultural parade, where the local communities take part. Overall, it blends the beauty of nature and culture.
A unique festivity, Ketipat War is an annual event that was first held in 1337 by the villagers of Kapal village in Mengwi. Ketipat is a typical Indonesian rice cake wrapped in coconut leaves, and during this event the villagers throw the Ketipat at each other.
29 – 30
GILIMANUK BAY FESTIVAL
Known as the area with a ferry port that connects Bali with Java, Gilimanuk also hosts the Gilimanuk Bay Festival, an event that features among others sail boat race and a parade of decorated boats.
11 – 15
LEGIAN BEACH FESTIVAL
More than just sand and sun, Legian sits perfectly amid Kuta and Seminyak and offers an irreplaceable taste of paradise. From inspiring arts and crafts, dining experiences, to catching the waves, Legian is acknowledged to be one of Bali’s liveliest and most vibrant areas. As the name ‘Legian’ means ‘sweet’ in Balinese, Legian Beach Festival promises a lasting sweet memory for its visitors. It’s an outdoor day and night mega festival, set along 700 meters of Legian beachfront. As Legian’s most anticipated festival, the event will bring you to a whole new experience with fun activities and competitions along with beachfront bazaar and food stalls.
24 – 28
UBUD WRITERS & READERS FESTIVAL
From humble beginnings in 2004, the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) has evolved into one of the world’s most celebrated literary and artistic events – an annual pilgrimage for lovers of literature and conversation. Bringing together some of the world’s most powerful voices in a melting pot of artists, authors, thinkers and performers, the festival is a platform for meaningful exchange and cross-cultural dialogue. A place where artists and audiences alike can discuss shared inspirations, ideas and concerns, UWRF transcends cultural and geographical borders to create a truly global community.
Across five days, UWRF delivers an eclectic program of events – from fiery conversations to intimate literary lunches, gripping live performances to hands-on workshops. This year, the festival celebrates its 15th year as Southeast Asia’s leading festival of words and ideas. Early Bird tickets go on sale alongside the first lineup announcement on the 16th of July. Stay tuned to the festival’s website and social media channels.
25 – 28
BALI BULELENG DIVE FESTIVAL
The festivals aims to promote Buleleng as one of the world’s top diving destinations, along with raising the global awareness about the importance of conserving coral reefs. Off the water, Bali Buleleng Dive Festival showcases the local art and culture of Tejakula and Buleleng. This event is a must for divers and those admiring the underwater world.
26 – 28
NUSA DUA FIESTA
Taking place in the peninsula of Nusa Dua, Nusa Dua Fiesta showcases traditional handicraft exhibitions, art and musical performances from across the Indonesian archipelago, and culinary stalls. Other activities include beach clean up, along with competitions such as kids drawing and even a selfie contest.
(Date to be confirmed)
GOAT RUN GUNUNG AGUNG
This sporting event is held by the government of Karangasem as an effort to promote the regency as a destination outside South Bali. The activity will take in the area surroundings the sacred Mount Agung, allowing the participants a great view, and challenge.
12 – 17
BADUNG CULTURAL FESTIVAL
The Badung Cultural Festival is held as part of Mangupura anniversary celebration. During the festival you can feast your eyes on the colourful parade, and observe a number of sacred Balinese Hindu ceremonies conducted by the local communities. The festival is especially famous for its Angklung traditional music instrument competition.
Makepung is one of the unique traditions stemmed from the agrarian life scene of the island, and is a widely enjoyed event in the regency of Jembrana, West Bali. The widely known race of water buffalos is a colourful spectacle and the racing course is about 2 kilometres. Here, the farmers and their buffalos come to race for honour, pride and the trophy, rather than for money.
Different from the regular Makepung Race, Makepung Lampit is held in wetlands, where the pair of buffalos pulls the Lampit, or the wooden board, through the muddy surface. Inspired by the Balinese agriculture culture, Makepung Lampit signifies the gotong royong culture, where everyone is helping each other for a shared goal. In the villages, everyone is helping on the land levelling process to prepare for the harvesting season. This traditions initiates Makepung Lamping.
7 – 10
NUSA PENIDA FESTIVAL
With themes surrounding the Blue Paradise, the nickname of Nusa Penida Island, Nusa Penida Festival highlights the importance of coral reefs. As a part of Global Coral Triangle, the main focus of the festival is to celebrate nature and engage with it. The festival aims to be an eye-opening event for visitors to experience water sports activities such as sailing and snorkelling. With a series of events including a photography competition, camping, and musical performances, Nusa Penida Festival shed new light on coral to global visitors.
19 – 2 JANUARY 2019
PENGLIPURAN VILLAGE FESTIVAL
To conserve and promote the authentic Balinese culture, the annual Penglipuran Village Festival embraces various creative and unique activities such as souvenir making, painting, culinary contests, fashion shows, and several customary dance performances. The festival is held in Penglipuran village, where travellers can observe the traditional architecture around the village, immersing and interacting with the village residents.
28 – 31
Denpasar Festival focuses on happiness and sustainability. It realises Bali’s full potentials and important existence of the creative industry. Held at the end of the year and originally named Gajah Mada Festival, Denpasar Festival commemorates the year with a silver lining. The celebration has different themes every year, and holds resourceful exhibitions and ethnic musical performances by Balinese artists. The end of the festival is celebrated with a dance parade and the end-of-the-year Dadong Rerod opera.
(Date to be confirmed)
NUSANTARA MASK FESTIVAL
Held in Gianyar, this festival aims to promote and conserve the tradition of mask making in Indonesia.