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Bali Arts Festival

People’s Rendezvous vs. Business Event

gede-palgunadiAt the age of the thirty-fifth year, the Bali Arts Festival (BAF) has certainly owned a long record on itself and the various parties getting involved whether serving as the organizers, artists, spectators, tourists and even the traders also getting the fortune in the annual cultural extravaganza.

Since the first implementation of this cultural event, its primary purposes were the preservation, revitalization, reconstruction and education for people, especially young generation. Amidst the advancement of civilization especially serving as a tourist destination, Bali definitely has a higher sensitivity than the other regions in Indonesia against the negative effects of globalization. One of them is the cultural degradation and social gap among the societal classes. It is the reason why the BAF is organized.

As a matter of fact, the venue where the artists express their artistic talent and skill was not originally intended for the benefit of tourism. Indirectly, this event has undeniably become a new commodity for tourism businesspeople as tourist attraction. So far, the interest of foreign tourists in this event is not so high. Lack of promotion as well as commitment of the government and private sectors has caused the BAF not to be a major target of foreign tourists when spending holidays in Bali during the implementation of BAF.

However, probably the initial commitment was merely intended for the benefit of ‘domestic’ visitors so that it was then flooded by local communities remaining to hunger for traditional art entertainment that could not be met by the condition then. At that time, the live performance in temple ceremony and mass media like television has not been growing rapidly as today. Similarly, do not forget that domestic tourists like students, mainly those from Java, are always visiting this annual cultural extravaganza.

Through the years, we can see a significant shift by naked eyes. Economic value is even given more emphases. Apparently, the BAF has been transformed into a night market. Numerous traders are even roaming around in the area of cultural arena. As a result, many people protest and complain. BAF has considered to have lost its identity. After all, the government so far remains not to do any concrete measures to discipline them. BAF has become a showcase that does not only involve local players of Bali but also those from outside Bali. Undeniably, the government can actually makes a policy to restrict it. This people’s party is a cultural festival, not business event. For the interest of business event, there are surely other venues specifically designed for that. Now, let’s wait and wait! (Gde Palgunadi— This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

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