Well, finally here it is, the annual Nusa Dua Fiesta has opened for 2012 with a colourful and dazzling parade and ceremony. The fiesta will run through the weekend, closing with a performance of the classic Mahabharata tale of Arjuna and Krisna, scheduled to start at 7 p.m. on the main stage on Monday Nov. 5. This year’s fiesta promises to be better than ever and offers a schedule of activities, competitions and performances, as well as environmental education, exhibitions, sports and static displays.
Nusa Dua Fiesta 2012 actually opened early Friday morning with a beach cleanup, followed at 8 a.m. with the start of the spectacular day-long penjor (decorated bamboo pole) competition, with teams producing some incredibly complex and beautiful decorations. The multitude of static displays and stands also opened at 8 a.m., as did the wood and stone carving and painting competitions, all of which run throughout the full four days. Stone carving demonstrations were held adjacent to the stage. The skill and speed at which the two artists carved beautiful and ornate Dewi Sri statues was astonishing.
At 2:30 p.m. the Ngelawang Dance, a form of Barong Dance, began its hotel-to-hotel journey, bringing with it both purification and entertainment for the guests and staff alike. This will be repeated every day, although times will vary.
The underwater photographic exhibition also opened at Pasifika Museum. This is something quite spectacular and not only looks at the diversity of the local marine world, but at some of the wonderful conservation programs around the island. The Reef Foundation will also present a Photo Story at 3 p.m. on Saturday at the same location explaining and promoting their tremendous work.
The real business of the day began with the noisy and dramatic Fiesta Parade with many of the Nusa Dua hotels taking part, each with its own performers, musicians and marine-themed ogoh-ogoh (huge papier-mâché creatures). At the end of the parade they gave a short, informative and entertaining performance to the audience and dignitaries around the theme of life in and by the sea, and the environmental and economic challenges faced. The performances ranged from satirical humour to dance depicting the destruction of reefs and loss of marine life. The parade was closed by Udayana University’s marching band, who provided a wonderful contrast to their traditional peers.
With the parade and performances finished and as darkness fell the opening ceremony began in earnest with the iconic Sekar Jepun, a welcome dance unique to the Badung Regency that explores and describes the beauty of the frangipani flower. It was elegantly performed by local dancers from South Kuta who Bali Tourism Development Corporation (BTDC) actively support by giving them the opportunity to perform on a large international stage. The dancers, young and old, took their opportunity and performed marvellously to the delight of their many supporters and newfound fans.
Ida Bagus Abdhi, head of the organizing committee, commented the fiesta was part of BTDC’s desire to promote and support the local performing arts and culture. He continued saying that BTDC were delighted to see so many local and foreign guests at the opening ceremony, including some German and Asian students currently studying at local universities. Reports had also been received from hotels that had taken bookings from foreign music and performing arts fans who had come to Nusa Dua especially to enjoy the fiesta, proving, he said, that the Nusa Dua Fiesta had become an international calendar event.
In attendance throughout the whole ceremony were many Indonesian dignitaries, including Bali’s governor, Made Mangku Pastika, the regent of Badung and the director general of Destination Development from the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry. The fiesta was formally opened by Pastika, who was followed by a crashing fireworks display.
The whole day, despite being extremely hot, had a carnival atmosphere and thankfully had plenty of fixed stalls selling drinks and ice cream.
Saturday sees more competitions and events and features, among other things, a sustainable seafood workshop by Chef Juna from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. In addition, the eagerly anticipated celebration of World Music (IMEX) will take place on both Saturday and Sunday evenings, starting at 5 p.m. and running until about 11 p.m. There will be performances and collaborations by some very talented local and international world musicians, plus no doubt a few surprises.
There are brochures and schedules available all around the island.