The verdict seems to be unanimous- there’s just something about Bali. The Spirit Festival concluded having once again confirmed its status as one of the leading events of its kind in Asia. Each year, thousands of festivalgoers from all over the world flock to Bali to attend vibrant performances from a host of celebrated musicians and dancers, workshops by yoga masters and seminars led by pioneers in the field of holistic science. This year was no exception, as the Festival proudly offered its stage to arguably its most diverse and impressive musical lineup.
With the Festival underway and spirits flying high, many of the performers were eager to offer their insights about what makes the Festival so unique. The all-encompassing international ethos of the event was acknowledged as an underlying strength. Hope Medford from the headlining act Medicine for the People said, “This opportunity to collaborate breaks boundaries, and I believe, helps prevent racism… the fusion here of modern and traditional music is incredible.” Top musicians from different cultural and artistic backgrounds sharing a stage undoubtedly contributed to the vibrant community the Festival enjoyed this year.
Performers agreed that the tolerance and open-mindedness that is now a trademark of the Festival was largely due to the multi-cultural Balinese community. Peter Brambi of Silver Pesos said, “People feel uninhibited here… I think other festivals can learn a lot from this festival.” Sanjay Seran, lead singer of Delhi 2 Dublin agreed: “This (Bali’s) community feels very open… by far the most engaged and energetic we’ve seen.”
While the emphasis on music this year was strong, the Festival maintained a clear focus on its mission: to inspire proactive change and to promote conscious living both on an individual and a social/cultural level. John Ogilvie, founder of Australia’s Byron Yoga Center and Festival sponsor, playfully remarked on how the entertainment aspect of the event could help introduce conscious living and a yoga practice to a wider audience: “If we can get enough people doing yoga around the world, it will be a better place… offering music and dance is a good strategy to attract beginners. Perhaps they’ll come for music, then we can trick them into doing yoga!”
The promotion of peace is a core principle of the Festival’s mission: the event was created in the wake of the 2002 bombings in Bali and ensuing economic crisis. The founders embraced the challenge of rebuilding the economy and community in a mindful, sustainable and peaceful way. Rocky Dawuni, CNN’s Top 10 African Artist and headliner this year, perceptively pinpointed the Festival’s unique goal: “I see it (the 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…
This is our piece in the quest for peace.” Cross-cultural creative collaboration. Promotion and perfection of personal yoga practice. Advancement of alternative medicine. Whether a first time guest or a long-standing Festival lover, there was something for everyone at BaliSpirit Festival 2012. We are grateful to all those who make it possible and can’t wait for BaliSpirit 2013!
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