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.
I MADE GUNARTA, KADEK GUNARTA, FESTIVAL CO-FOUNDER AND CULTURAL LIAISON
Pak Kadek, 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.
ROBERT WEBER, CO-FOUNDER AND MUSICAL DIRECTOR
Robert 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.
MEGHAN PAPPENHEIM, DIRECTOR OF THE BALISPIRIT GROUP & EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF THE BALISPIRIT FESTIVAL
Meg 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.