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We Love a Parade

35th Bali Arts Festival Opens with Colossal Street Parade in Downtown Denpasar Presided Over by President Yudhoyono

(6/17/2013) The 35th Bali Arts Festival was opened with a gala parade in front of the Monument of the People's Struggle in Renon, downtown Denpasar on Saturday, June 16, 2013.

The parade featuring floats and 15 colossal cultural acts from across Indonesia paraded past a reviewing stand containg Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Madame Yudhoyono as rains fell throughout the afternoon.

As reported by The Bali Post, the President struck a giant gong to signal the start of he parade and the opening of the Bali Arts Festival. The first to perform before the reviewing stand was the Adhi Merdangga Gambelan Group, appearing with dancers from Denpasar’s SMKN 5 (junior high), who presented the Siwa Nataraja Dance. Second to appear was a cultural group from the province of Papua who performed ethnic dances from their region while holding six large red and white Indonesian flags aloft. Also appearing where performers from Karangasem, Gianyar, Denpasar, Sumenep, Bangli, Klungkung, West Lampung, Badung, Tabanan, Timor Leste and the marching band from Udayana University.

Both the President and First Lady attended the parade adorned in traditional Balinese garb.

As with past parades, foreign consuls based in Denpasar were in attendance.

Some quarters complained that this year’s parade route was too short and was overly focused only on performing before the presidential reviewing stand, rather than in providing access and entertainment to the general public.

Bali museum curator and cultural icon, Nyoman Gunarsa, blamed a lack of proper regulation by the organizers for the poor public access to the opening parade. Gunarsa said: “The parade should circle to Bajra Sandhi Monument and the attractions should not only just be staged before the VIP reviewing stand. Moreover, the roadsides should be free of parked vehicles in order to maximize space for spectators.”

On the evening following the parade, the formal opening ceremony of the 35th Bali Arts Festival was held at the Bali Arts Center.