Bali is much more than a holiday destination. The Island of the Gods now hosts a raft of international and regional concerts, gatherings, trade fairs and other Bali festivals and events.
Why would you want to be anywhere else?
Bali Live International Jazz Festival 10 – 15 March
The Bali Live international Jazz Festival features local and international acts. This year’s lineup includes Indra Lesmana, Incognito, Daniele Cappucci, Israel Varela, John Primer, Magnus Lindgren, Maurice Brown, Jim Larkin, Nita Aartsen and Tulus, with more acts invited but yet to confirm. You can find unfolding details here.
The main event is an open air concert from 1.00pm – midnight on 15 March at Taman Bhagawan near Nusa Dua. There are warm up events for five days beforehand at venues in Ubud, Seminyak, Kuta, Kerobokan, Jimbaran and Nusa Dua.
One of last year’s attendees, Debbie Smith, has us particularly excited with her description of the event: “the collaboration of music from all corners of the globe was amazing, everyone came together as one without barriers…brilliant on all levels.”
Pre-festival yogathon 17 March
At Desa Seni, Canggu/Kerobokan, this is the first of several Bali festivals and events to address the body, mind and spirit, and a warm up for the Bali Spirit festival in a few day’s time.
Pre-festival launch party 18 March
This is another event, in Ubud this time, leading up to Bali Spirit festival. As one participant last year told us: “everybody from everywhere was just dancing together and having a great time”.
Bali Spirit Festival 31 March – 5 April
Billed as a global celebration of yoga, dance and music, Bali Spirit Festival is now in its eighth year. Organisers promise an international cornocopia of the music and yoga all celebrating the theme of peace, love and the positive. There will be heaps of workshops, world music performances and lots of happenings in various pavilions on the lawns by day. Organisers expect at least 6,000 people from 50 nations. The venue is Ubud’s Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA).
The organisers tell us Bhakti Nights is a music concert running over two nights at Coco Love Stage, mixing music and traditions from all corners of the planet. Artists are:
Ajeet Kaur: Devotional Chant from the USA
Maneesh de Moor from the Netherlands
Kevin James from USA
Murray Kyle from Australia
Peia from the USA
Ali Ghamsari of Iran.
If concerts after dark are not quite your speed, organisers promise another suite of international artists at the three-day “One World, One Stage” concerts:
Deya Dova, female electronic producers and a ground breaking vocalist recording from Australia
Desert Dwellers, an Electronica group from the USA
David Block (The Human Experience) from the USA
Markandeya Project, a visionary pop/roots band from Gothenburg, Sweden
Spirit of the Hornbill, a dance academy focused on Dayak dance and music from Indonesia
Murray Kyle, a multi-instrumentalist troubadour from Northern New South Wales, Australia
Matsumoto Zoku (Koji Matsumoto and Reo Matsumoto), Contemporary Stateless Music (Dig & More) from Japan
Vieux Cissiko, a Griot man carrying the lineage of his Cissokho kinsfolk from Ziguinchor, Southern Senegal.
Farafi (Joy Tyson and Darlini Singh Kaul), afro-folk duo a capella from India
Dustin Thomas, a traveling singer-songwriter from USA
Hera, street-folk musicians from Iceland.
DJ Lo Qi, Ecletic Selecta from Cuba.
Ubud Food Festival 5 June – 7 June.
An exciting three-day culinary adventure through the diverse landscape of Indonesian food. Cooking demonstrations, workshops, panels, markets, film screenings, dinners and more, all featuring some of the region’s best chefs and foodies. A brainchild of the Ubud Writers’ and Readers’ Festival, this is a Bali event not to miss!
Bali Arts Festival is Denpasar’s festival of traditional and contemporary arts. Expect a full month of daily performances, handicraft exhibitions and other related cultural and commercial activities. Many events are either free of charge or very cheap to enter, such as the High School and College of Performing Arts big dance drama spectacles depicting Ramayana or Mahabharata stories on opening and closing nights.
The opening parade starts on Saturday 13 June at Renon square Denpasar in front of the Bajra Sandhi monument, where you can see a contingent from every region in traditional dress, playing its own Gamelan orchestra.
Each of Bali’s regencies competes with the others to bring you their finest. You can see Balinese villagers perform traditional trance dances, and urban dance moves from international acts. Expect to hear lots of music and see plenty of ritual dance drama at Ksiranawa Theater and exhibitions at the Denpasar Art Centre.
Bali Kite Festival July – August
Kite flying teams from Denpasar’s local communities descend on Sanur Beach to strut their stuff – probably not til 13 July or later. This is more than just a sporting event: each team, of perhaps 80 people, has its own Gamelan ensemble, flies a giant 4 x 10 metre kite. Bali Kite Festival is an annual festival but the starting date is determined at fairly short notice, according to weather conditions. As one of the locals says: “when wind is coming, kites will fly!”.
Bali Gourmet Festival 14-16 August
The Bali Gourmet Festival is an opportunity for cooks and chefs from near and far to show their wares. Whether they usually work in five-or-six-star hotels or just a little warung around the corner, their food is on offer for you to judge. To be held at Bali Nusa Dua Convention Centre, Nusa Dua. Check the website closer to time for details.
Dreamfields EDM Festival 15 August
Dreamfields Electronic Dance Music Festival returns to Bali for the second year. The event everybody is talking about in The Netherlands, Dreamfields is billed by the organisers as the fastest growing Dutch dance party so why not spread it to Asia? Partygoers from every corner of the earth will flock GWK Cultural Park South Kuta to experience many of the world’s top DJs.
Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park is an amazing outdoor venue in south Bali surrounded by fragments of natural limestone cliffs. Organisers promise large and small stages, a food garden and a chill out lounge to cater for every stage of your emotional journey through a day and night of music and dance. Watch this space for more information closer to time.
Ku De Ta White Party 15 August 2015
Ku De Ta once again stages the annual White Party.
The whole building in Seminyak will be transformed into a huge white set, with DJs aplenty and a theme yet to be announced. Like White Parties all over the world, you are welcome if you come dressed in white. Expect dazzling light shows with multiple projectors reflecting off the white walls, dance floors and of course your clothes.
Sanur Village Festival 24 – 28 September
This is Sanur Village’s annual festival, organised by the local community. We hope to bring you further details closer to time.
Indonesia Spa & Wellness International Expo and Festival 25 – 28 September
The Indonesia Spa & Wellness International Festival is to be held at Nusa Dua. This is a four-day event for people in one of Bali’s fastest-growing industries to do business, network and learn. Watch this space for more information closer to time.
Ubud Writers’ and Readers’ Festival 28 October – 1 November
Are you an aspiring author? Do you have a manuscript lying at the bottom of your drawer or a stack of good ideas languishing somewhere on your hard drive? Have you tried to send it out to a few publishers, and had nothing but rejection slips in the mail?
Many successful authors kick off their careers at a writers’ festival. This is where popular, published authors share what helped them string a few good ideas into a novel, and how they polished up their manuscripts til they sparkled. This is where you can hear publishers tell you what they look for in a manuscript before they read it, and how to choose the right publisher to send your work to.
Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, Ubud, Gianyar regency, is the annual meeting place for writers, publishers and artists to mingle, exchange ideas and show their wares.
You don’t have to be a writer to turn up and hear one of your favourite authors speak about what inspired and empowered them in their literary journey.
There will also be plenty of musical events and other performing arts on show. This year’s theme is “17,000 Islands of Imagination”,which is the theme chosen by the Frankfurt Book Fair for the Guest of Honour Nation 2015, Indonesia.
Watch this space for more information closer to time or check the official website here.
In fact, a land of tropic rains and rolling thunder is the perfect place to escape the housework and simply enjoy the festive season.
Major resorts, clubs and restaurants put on special Christmas packages and events and Santa often makes a surprise appearance in the streets of Ubud, Seminyak or Kuta. Let’s hope he pops up again this year.
Have we missed your favourite event?
Are there details of your favourite event that could benefit from a bit more information? Please contact us with your suggestions and remember, pictures are always welcome! firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. This is a directory for information purposes only and inBali has not accepted any paid advertising from event organisers. While we make every effort to provide accurate information when we publish, we can’t be held liable if events are cancelled or dates change.
Organisers of many big events are yet to finalise and advertise their plans, and for this reason we plan to launch a new edition of this guide mid-year.
It is wise to confirm dates with the organisers in advance before making travel arrangements. As with all things Balinese, what you plan and what you get are never quite the same – but if you are open minded and happy to go with the flow you will be prepared to be surprised and delighted.