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A Celebration of All that is Bali

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Urges the Rest of Indonesia to Follow Bali's Example in Cultural Preservation.

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Wearing a traditional Balinese costume to mark the occasion, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono struck a traditional Balinese tawa-tawa gong five times on Saturday afternoon, June 18, 2005, to officially open the 27th Annual Bali Arts Festival.

The ringing of the tawa-tawa earned a musical response from an orchestra of 14 Balinese students playing sungu horns, made from large conch shells, which signaled the start of a massive parade of marching bands, dance troupes and colorful floats past the reviewing stand and through the streets of Bali's capital city of Denpasar.

Bali Arts Festival June 18 Ė July 25, 2005

The Bali Arts Festival offers visitors and local alike a month-long opportunity to see the very best in Balinese traditional performing arts at various venues across the island. As in the past, foreign performers are will appear at this year's Festival with groups from the U.S.A. and Thailand among those scheduled to participate.

A complete program schedule is provided on the Bali Arts Festival Web site.

Praise for I.B. Mantra

The President saluted the Balinese people for the depth of feeling they possess for their local culture, urging other areas of the Country to follow the Island's example.

The President also lavished praise on the founder of the Bali Arts Festival, the late Ida Bagus Mantra, who founded the event in 1979. Referring to the Founder of the Festival, who served as the Governor or Bali and as a National Director-General of Culture, President Susilo said, "we can never forget the great service he gave to Bali's traditional art's culture."

The President went on to urge the people of Bali to continue to preserve and develop their culture based on their religious and ritual practice, calling Bali's traditional life and culture its greatest asset.

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