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About BaliSpirit Festival

our story | our vision & mission | about the founders | the festival team | testimonials

About BaliSpirit Festival

The BaliSpirit Festival - 8 years of magic!

As the BaliSpirit Festival celebrates its sixth year, news of this gathering of world-renowned musicians, yogis and dancers from every continent has spread across the globe. The BaliSpirit Festival has become a magnet for fans, students and followers of every yoga, movement, healing and music calling. Weeks before the Festival, Ubud begins to fill with a colorful, international tribe of conscious travelers, gathering in anticipation of one of the world's most inspiring events.

The first Festival in 2008 was pulled together in just three months—an incredible achievement for the Festival's founders, as well as a dream come true: They shared a vision to create a Festival that would both build and support community through the full spectrum of yoga and a rich diversity of world music and dance.

In 2008, Bali's tourism industry had not yet recovered from the devastating social and economic impacts of the 2002 and 2005 bombings. Building upon their love for the island and creative passion for yoga, dance, and music, the founders pooled their resources to develop an economically and environmentally sustainable annual event that would become a beacon for the burgeoning market of holistic travelers and attract domestic and foreign visitors back to the hills of Ubud. In 2012, the festival attracted 6,000 guests during its five days of festivities, including visitors from 50 countries and 1,000 Balinese and Indonesians.

Set in the spectacular grounds of the Purnati Center for the Arts in Batuan, just 10 minutes south of Ubud, the Daytime Workshops and Dharma Fair enjoy an open-air venue unmatched for its inspiring, tropical beauty. Styles of yoga and movement have included Hatha, Vinyasa Flow, Yin, Laughter, Power, Anusara, Ashtanga, Silat, Capoeira, Poi, Qi Gong, and Juggling. Dance styles draw from Mandala, Javanese, Balinese, Indian, and West African traditions.

The "One World Stage" evening concerts take place in the heart of Ubud, at the Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA) outdoor stage, allowing easy access for both visitors and Ubud residents. This unique series of concerts knits together the distinctive traditional and contemporary musics of Bali and greater Indonesia with visiting artists from every world genre and every of the globe.

Over the past six years, the BaliSpirit Festival has worked alongside partner organizations in Bali, as well as international yoga teachers and musicians, to raise more than USD $65,000 for the Festival's annual Karma (Giving Back) outreach initiatives. Funds have contributed to children's programs, multicultural education & performances, health clinics, HIV & AIDS awareness, & environmental protection. The BaliSpirit Festival currently operates two outreach programs annually: The HIV & AIDS education program Ayo! Kita Bicara HIV & AIDS and the reforestation initiative, Bali ReGreen.

The BaliSpirit Festival is indeed a celebration—of the richness of culture, the sanctity of the environment, and harmony between people of all nations. Celebrate with us, and in doing so, help us to make the world a better place.

Our Mission and Vision

Tri Hita Karana: Harmony with God, Harmony in Community, Harmony with Nature

Our Mission

The goal of the BaliSpirit Festival is to awaken and nourish each individual's potential for positive change within, leading to positive change in our homes, in our communities, and around the world. Through beneficial and inspirational traditions of Yoga, Dance, and Music, the BaliSpirit Festival illustrates the Balinese Hindu concept of Tri Hita Karana: living in harmony with our spiritual, social, and natural environments. Committed, particularly, to nourishing our own home in Bali, the founders of the BaliSpirit Festival pledge to provide financial, logistical, and organizational support to local charities, with a special emphasis on children's programs, multicultural education and performance, healthcare, HIV& AIDS awareness, and environmental conservation in Bali and greater Indonesia.

Our Vision

The BaliSpirit Festival was founded as a premier international and holistic wellness and world music destination event that contributes positively to the ecological health, cultural vibrancy, and overall vitality of Bali and greater Indonesia.

The Founders

The BaliSpirit Festival is a leader among a new generation of festivals for the rapidly growing holistic travel marketplace. It was first conceived through a creative collaboration between three dynamic co-founders, who each bring a unique perspective to the Festival's programs.

meg-dek-2012I Made Gunarta, Kadek Gunarta, Festival Co-Founder and Cultural Liaison, has been a fundamental component of the BaliSpirit Festival's vision to connect with the community. Kadek comes from a long lineage of socially minded Balinese; his great-grand father, the head of The Sacred Monkey Forest restoration project in the early 70's, and his mother, a school principal for over 30 years, are just two of his role models. Starting in 2010 Kadek took revitalization of the popular Monkey Forest into his own hands and launched a reforestation project in the forest, planting hundreds of trees and creating a safer and leafier home for the indigenous long-tailed macaque monkeys of the forest, whom the Balinese regard as sacred. The Monkey Forest is now adding a wood seated amphitheater, which Kadek plans to utilize as a performance space for traditional Balinese arts in the future. Kadek is the founder of Yayasan Kryasta Guna, a non-for-profit arts and culture organization with a mission to inspire local youth in Ubud to invest in and learn about their own traditions—and aspire to perform in the Monkey Forest Amphitheater one day.

In addition to community projects, Kadek is head designer of Dek's Studio, a wooden furniture restoration business, as well as an inspiring natural architect, who handles a number of green building projects in the Ubud area. In 2013 he will open a new restaurant called ASAP (the word smoke in Balinese) on Jalan Gootama, Ubud, serving a menu of traditional Balinese foods like smoked duck and banana leaf stew and featuring monthly youth gatherings and live music.

Robert Weber, Co-Founder and Musical Director, is a musician, music producer, and documentary filmmaker, operating a recording studio from his home of Ubud.

A student of shamanism, permaculture, and sacred arts for almost twenty years, he leads healing sound journeys and is a leader in the earth-reverent spirituality community on Bali.

Rob is also founder of the tribal dance band, Susu Ibu, which has performed at major international festivals in Indonesia, and recently co-produced and produced the soundtrack for the feature documentary film "Bali: Life is an Offering." Since the birth of BaliSpirit Festival, Rob has curated the festival music lineup with the intention of bringing forth spiritually inspired musicians from every continent to join in a collective offering of universal love, peace and harmony.

MegMeghan Pappenheim, Director of the BaliSpirit Group & Executive Producer of the BaliSpirit Festival, is originally from New York City, where she started her first business at the age of 9 selling plant seedlings to her neighbors and handcrafted silver and beaded jewelry to the mothers of her friends.

Meg came to Bali in 1992 to complete her BA in Art History, Anthropology and Asian Studies with a focus on Indonesian Arts and Culture and the Indigenous Folk Art of Bali. That year, she met the man who became her life partner, Kadek Gunarta. During their 20-year relationship Meg and Dek (as they are known by friends) have welcomed two adorable children developed a vibrant group of companies based in Ubud, including Balispirit.com, the definitive website for Bali's growing holistic scene and the internationally known BaliSpirit Festival. Although certified to teach yoga in 2002, Meghan never materialized as a yoga instructor; but she feels strongly that the practice of yoga greatly enhances people's lives on every level. This realization was a driving force behind the creation of the annual BaliSpirit Festival.

Meghan's list of projects goes on and on. A true social entrepreneur, the companies and non-for-profits she and her husband include BaliSpirit and BaliSpirit Festival; Tegun Folk Art Galeri, The BaliSpirit Yoga Shop, The Yoga Barn, and Kush Ayurvedic Rejvenation Center; as well as the restaurants Kafe (a health food restaurant) and Kebun (a Bistro inspired by the South of France). Meg's non-for-profit endeavors include the creation Bali ReGreen, a bamboo reforestation program in East Bali; Ayo! Kita Bicara HIV/AIDS, an awareness program for Balinese youth that focuses on the realities of HIV and AIDS; the Say NO! To Plastics Campaign, Ubud. Meg serves on the board of directors for Yayasan Cahaya Pelangi, better known as Pelangi School, and on the board of Yayasan Kryasta Guna. Meg also has a reputation for producing unique and fun fundraising events for a variety of organizations around Bali, including Bumi Sehat, the Rotary Club, and more.

Meghan believes wholly in the theory that one should make money in order to give it away, or, rather, invest it in others who have the need. She believes that generosity makes the world go round and that people who practice the art of giving will always be rewarded, in kind. For more information about Meghan, Google her and find out what crazy stories pop up!

This cohesive group of visionaries manifested The BaliSpirit Festival. All three strongly believe that the ongoing outreach and education programs funded and fueled by the Festival have an immeasurable impact on communities throughout Bali and beyond. For the founders, this is the greatest accomplishment of all.

Read more about the Festival Team Here...

Testimonials from our friends and the media

"As Balinese person, I am proud to have an international festival here. I believe if the spirit of the festival spreads, so will peace." - Gede Robi Supriyanto, Musician (Bali), 2012

"I see the BaliSpirit Festival as a cultural crossroads, an intersection point for all these cultures to create harmony. We are all different threads that make up the same cloth." - Rocky Dawuni, Musician (Ghana), 2012

"One of the top 5 yoga festivals in the world!" - South China Morning Post, 2012

"The brainchild of co-founders Meghan Pappenheim, Made Gunarta, and Robert Weber, the BaliSpirit Festival was launched in 2008 with the intention of creating a global village community that nurtures creative and spiritual diversity through yoga, dance and music. Merging East and West, the Festival's spirit-nourishing workshops lure practitioners and soul-searchers from all over the world to the shores of beautiful Bali." - Rebecca Walker, Asia Spa Magazine, June 2010.

"In just a few years since its birth, the BaliSpirit Festival has quickly become one of the premiere lifestyle festivals in the world. In the 'yoga and wellness world, this is the festival that everyone is talking about!" - Ciaran Caulfield, owner of Body in Balance SKYTV, Europe's leading Wellness channel, April 2009

"The BaliSpirit Festival successfully captures the essence of Bali's magical culture, its spirituality, and its thriving sense of community. BaliSpirit Festival is an experience to be savoured for many years to come!" - Coral Brown, Yoga Instructor, July 2009

"When people gather together for an unconditional experience there are no limits to what the collective gathering can manifest. My experience at the BaliSpirit Festival has always turned into sacred space, which allows our birthright of being beautiful, bountiful and blissful to Divinely unfold!!! Thank you for making this creative, crazy carnival!" - Rebecca Pflaum, Yoga Instructor, August 2009

"BaliSpirit Festival adalah ajang perhelatan spiritual yang meriah... a festive spiritual celebration." - Kompas, June 2009

"BaliSpirit Festival lebih dari sekedar perhelatan akbar yoga, tari dan musik. Begitu banyak keindahan yang diberikan sebagai wujud apresiasi budaya, spiritualitas, dan kreatifitas untuk dunia yang damai dan penuh cinta… more than a grand celebration of yoga, dance and music. There is so much beauty raised in a manifestation of cultural appreciation, spirituality, and creativity for a peaceful world willed with love." - Fit Magazine, May 2009

BaliSpirit Festival Founders This cohesive group of visionaries have manifested The BaliSpirit Festival. All three strongly believe that the ongoing outreach and education programs funded and fueled by the Festival will have an immeasurable impact on communities throughout Bali and beyond. For the founders, this is the greatest accomplishment of all. This image was taken on stage at the 2011 event.

BaliSpirit Yoga Festival