Month-long Bali Arts Festival ends
The 34th Bali Arts Festival finally ended on Monday, with Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika officially closing the month-long festival.
The closing ceremony featured the colossal dance drama Nila Candra Ngeka Suwarga at the Ardha Candra open stage of the arts center performed by hundreds of students from SMKN 3 Sukawati, Gianyar.
Around 15,000 local and international artists have performed during the island’s largest art fiesta. More than 300 traditional arts performances, as well as modern and contemporary ones, have been on stage since the festival began on June 10. The festival was also enhanced by exhibitions, discussions, culinary delicacies and
The organizing of the festival, however, continued to face the same problems as in previous years, such as inadequate facilities, security problems and illegal parking spaces on the roadside causing traffic jams surrounding the venue.
Several artists who performed during the festival complained about inadequate facilities, mostly the bad quality of the sound system.
“The sound system is really bad. We couldn’t give our best performance just because of the sound system,” said Suzan Kohlik, a member of Gedebong Goyang group from Peliatan, Gianyar, after her performance on June 22.
The Bali administration had, however, provided Rp 21.1 billion (US$ 2.27 million) for a sound
system upgrade a few months ago.
A member of an independent supervisory team, Nyoman Wija, admitted that his team had found several problems during the festival.
“There are many improvements, but there are also several problems that have to be evaluated,”
He highlighted several things requiring evaluation, mainly security and safety. He explained that many artists had lost their cell phones while back stage.
He also deplored that many local residents had opened illegal parking areas on the roadside, causing severe traffic jams every day, especially in the evening when many people visited the festival.
“It caused inconvenience for the visitors,” Wija said.
A visitor, Luh Ketut Alit Wiryani, shared similar concerns. She deplored the chaotic parking arrangements that forced visitors to park their cars and motorbikes inside private properties and on the front yards of the locals’ houses.
Wija also criticized the exhibition and food areas, which did not present unique products that reflected the characteristics of each of the island’s regencies.
“Each regency should have shown their own characteristic products, including food. But at this event, only people who had plenty of money could participate, because they had to pay for an
expensive booth,” he said.
Participants had to pay a minimum Rp 5 million and maximum Rp 12 million to rent a booth.
Although they had to pay a lot for a booth, many traders felt that the festival had given them good profits.
“I earned Rp 50 million from the booth. But that is not the point. The important thing is that I could promote my new products at this event,” said Oky Asokawati, a trader of bags and shoes made from endek and songket, who paid Rp 12 million to get the booth.
The profit was apparently so good that a traditional costume and cloth merchant, Ni Wayan Suriani, suggested the government should extend the festival.
Ketut Suastika, head of the Bali Cultural Agency, who also acts as chairman of the organizers, acknowledged that many things had to be evaluated from this year’s festival. “However, we did our best for the festival.”
Suastika said he would make a comprehensive evaluation of the festival soon, in order to make a better festival next year.