The Venues: BaliSpirit Festival 2012
If you drive 10 kilometers south from Ubud, starting on Jl Hanoman and then Jalan Raya Pengosekan, the road that connects the two venues of the BaliSpirit Festival, you will find yourself weaving through colorful villages and rice fields past pedestrian traffic that includes young boys in sarongs and udong hats and women carrying 3-foot high aturan temple offerings on their heads, all coming and going to ceremony. The motor traffic can sometimes be intense on this typical Balinese 2 lane country road.
After about 8 km you begin to see white and colored Spirit Festival pole banners lining the way through the villages until you see cars streaming into a left turn in the village of Batuan, up a crowded alleyway that curves around and eventually deposits you at the gates of the sylvan daytime venue for BaliSpirit Festival, the Purnati Center for the Arts.
The Purnati venue consists of six generous pavillions. As you proceed to the official entry post you pass through the Dharma Fair Market, a village of stalls with healthy food, merchandise, healers, artists and seers. The entire event is spread amongst lovely gardens, permanent structures that include a large watsu pool and bathing facilities, all surrounded by the rice fields of an agrarian village. The daytime events of BaliSpirit Festival are a smorgasbord of master classes in yoga, movement, and dance and theatre, all offered over four days of scheduling. https://balispiritfestival.com/attachments/BaliSpirit-Festival-2012-Program.pdf http://www.balipurnati.com/
Meanwhile, back in Ubud, just off Jl Hanoman, we find the splendid grounds of the ARMA Museum, the site of the BaliSpirit Festival evening events, music festivities that spreads out over three nights on the One World, One Stage– beginning each night at 6 pm, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Agung Rai Museum of Art, or ARMA, is more than a museum. It is a centre for visual and performing arts, and in addition to its gorgeous grounds and permanent collection of paintings, provides theatre performances, dance, music and painting classes, a bookshop, library and reading room, cultural workshops, conferences, seminar and training programs, and accommodation for the artists of the BaliSpirit Festival. http://www.armabali.com/
But the real venue for the BaliSpirit Festival is invisible… the magic of Bali is in its living religion, “the sacred space” held by the majority of the Balinese populace with great fervor and much time and energy. “The essence of Bali,” says writer Richard Semarr, is “the sacred spice of soul merged with the essence of high Hinduism (Siwa) and Buddhism, deeply flavored with animism and ancestral worship, now concealed in the protective ‘mask’ of Hindu Dharma. The inner preserves of what the Balinese call Tri-Sakti is still very alive.”
The Balinese maintain this extraordinary matrix of magic, mysticism, devotion, and creativity and they offer it with a generosity of spirit to all who come and are open. The invisible dimensions of Bali affect all aspects of life and culture in the strong communities on this special island of Gods and Goddesses. In spite of encroaching materialism and the demeaning effects of the colonial mentality, our hosts remain in grace and kindness in offering sanctuary to us. The matrix is beyond the personal: just smile at a Balinese islander and notice their ability to drop their personality and greet you in the here and now.
What wondrous gift is this, to be in the safety of such a precious isle?
- at the ARMA venue, smiling
Written by : Jeremiah Abrams