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Less than Truly Festive

34th Bali Arts Festival Pilloried for Bad Management Left in the Hands of Amateurs.

(6/7/2012) Bali Daily, the local supplement of The Jakarta Post, reports that the 34th Bali Arts Festival (PKB) is receiving a less-than-enthusiastic endorsements from leading figures in the island’s arts community.


I Wayan Dibya, a professor from the Indonesian Arts Institute (ISI), complained that as a member of the “curator team” for the PKB he has, in fact, been given little authority to select the artists or even the type of performances for the month-long festival.

Dibya said, “The team of curators has the job of reviewing the works of all performing groups to ensure that their creative arts are in line with the festival’s theme,” Dibya said. While the theme of this year’s Festival is “Paras Paros” or “Dynamism in Unity” lamented that the PKB is run by a committee of bureaucrats and not by the team of curators.

“This annual Bali Arts Festival is viewed more as a government project, rather than a pure art endeavor,” Dibya said. He complained that the selection of performers was done by regional administrators, adding, “the team of curators really has no idea about the background of the groups and their artistic portfolios.” 

The Bali Arts Festival has been notoriously mismanaged for many years. Programs are seldom issued in advance, with an “official” program only distributed several days before the festival begins. Also rather unique in this modern era, the Bali Arts Festival lacks an official website from which news can be dispensed and tickets sold to the general public. And perhap most glaring on an island teeming with professional event organizers, the provincial government of Bali chooses to “go it alone” and organize the entire event on its own, with predictably lackluster results year after year.

Another professor from ISI, I Made Bandem, pointed to this lack of professional management as the major impediment to the positive development of the PKB over time. 

“In foreign countries, an art festival is usually under the management of a trust, not a group of (government) committee members,” Bandem explained. “With good management, we would be able to register and record the real number of art troupes from each regency to complete our database and to map our performing arts groups,” said Bandem.

Bandem also complained that the venues used for the BKP have become inadequate and outdated. Calling for a greater emphasis on the traditional arts, Bandem called for a rethink of the Bali Arts Festival, including considering making the event biennial instead on annual.

Related Articles

[Editorial: A Less than Festive Festival]

[Schedule for 34th Bali Arts Festival]