Entering its 20th year, Nusa Dua Fiesta 2016 returns the annual festive celebrations of arts, culture, and entertainment to Nusa Dua, the Southern Bali area known for its hospitality quality with 5-star resorts and hotels. From 16th to 20th November 2016, the festival featured a number of multi-genre music shows, traditional dances, cultural parade, culinary tenants, sports tournaments, and other cultural entertainment. Thousands of local and international visitors packed Peninsula Island in ITDC (Indonesia Tourism Development Center) area, where the event took place.
Carrying on the spirit of local tourism since 1996, Nusa Dua Fiesta 2016 also brought out national and international entertainment under the tagline “Bring the World to Bali”. Despite the cancellation of concert by Spanish singer Julio Iglesias, there were many other entertaining performances to enjoy. Indonesia’s pop star Isyana Sarasvati and musical groups Maliq and D’Essentials were among the highlights of national musicians playing on stage. Also performing were local acts such as Balinese flute maestro Gus Teja, jazz guitarist Balawan, and ethnic musical group Emoni.
A series of extra events were held from November 12th. There were tennis and golf tournaments for sports enthusiasts. Nature lovers enjoyed cultural run across 5-star hotels, golf course, and beach in a 10-km secured road track in ITDC area on November 13th, 23-km cultural cycling from Garuda Wisnu Kencana to ITDC area on November 19th, and green fun walk on November 20th to raise environmental awareness by collecting trash around Peninsula area and learning the process of composting.
“One of our extra events is 10k cultural run, with 1200 participants running along ITDC area on Sunday, November 13th. This exceeds our target of 1000 participants,” said Nusa Dua Fiesta 2016 chairman, Ngurah Wirawan. The events were designed to show that Nusa Dua has another side of cultural value, apart from its well-known reputation of luxury hotels and accommodation facilities, he explained further.
The similar statement was delivered by General Director of ITDC, Abdul Bar M. Mansyur. According to him, ITDC is committed to make Nusa Dua Fiesta more creative and more known to wider community, both local and foreign tourists.
“Nusa Dua Fiesta is expected to be one of the world’s tourism agenda. Our aim is to promote Nusa Dua as event-based destination with non-MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events) events and as tourism destination combining nature, culture, and events. Nusa Dua is not all about resorts and conferences, it’s beyond that,” he said.
Nusa Dua Fiesta 2016 was officially inaugurated by Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism, Arief Yahya, on Wednesday, November 16th.
He proudly said Bali has been the top source of foreign exchange revenues of Indonesia tourism sector. “Bali attracts 4 million international visitors every year, and we expect the number to increase to 5 million by the end of 2016. In the future, we hope to see Nusa Dua as an investment and financial center aside from tourism center it has always been,” he said in his speech on the opening night.
Indonesian Traditional Dances, Devdan Show, and Marching Band at Nusa Dua Fiesta 2016
Peninsula Island is a green open space of natural limestone ground overlooking southern coast of Bali, that transforms itself into a fertile ground, and now serves as a green zone, a recreational place for public, and a great location for events. Nusa Dua Fiesta 2016 had several zones of venues, art installations, and other spots. The main event was located at the main stage.
On the main stage, beautiful dancers in bright, colorful costumes performed spectacular shows. One of the dances was Reog Ponorogo, a traditional dance from Ponorogo regency, East Java, captivated visitors in the opening night with its main leading figure, a lion-masked King Singo Barong. The dance shows a fight between King Kelono Sewandono of Ponorogo Kingdom and King Singo Barong, with their warriors supporting them. An amazing thing about the dance is the lion mask weighs around 40 kg and the dancer has to be strong enough to hold it with his teeth.
The rich cultural heritage of Indonesia was revealed in other dances “from Sabang to Merauke”: West Papuan Manokwari Dance, Kecak Dance Bali Mandara featuring Percussion Men Merci, Lenggang Bekasi Dance, and Muli Siregar Dance from Lampung.
Another performance that spectators could not get their eyes off of was the fantastic dance by Devdan Show, combining acrobatic, traditional, and contemporary dances of Bali, Papua, and some other regions in Indonesia. You can watch another Devdan Show performances at Nusa Dua Theatre by reserving ticket, which can cost more than 1 million of rupiahs. So, Nusa Dua Fiesta visitors were lucky to see dazzling performance by Devdan Show for free!
If you love watching marching band show, you would have regretted it to miss this one. Students of Udayana University presented their amazing marching band performance, covering Indonesia’s traditional songs like Rasa Sayange (children song from Ambon, Maluku), Anak Kambing Saya (East Nusa Tenggara), Meong-meong (Bali).
Nights of Jazz, Pop and Ethnic Songs presented at Nusa Dua Fiesta 2016
Chilling blues music appeared at sundown, and was a perfect soundtrack to end the afternoon and to warm up the evening. Indonesia’s musical acts began playing on stage later around 7-8 PM.
Isyana Sarasvati’s show was one of the most awaited show in the festival and the highlight of the opening night. TV and radio stations in Indonesia have been blasting out Isyana’s songs lately; no wonder most of the crowd were so familiar with her music. The composer-songwriter-keyboardist delivered her songs beautifully, even though she apologized for having a voice problem that night.
Ethnic, pop, fusion were the main sound of Balinese musical band Ethnic Harmony Bali or Emoni. The nuance of their songs reflected Balinese musical heritage of flute and rindik blended with percussion, bass, and acoustic guitar. Some of the songs they played on the second day of the festival included a cover of Balinese children song Meong-meong with fresh musical arrangement and their most famous song, Ketut Garing, which has more than 2 million views on YouTube.
A female dancer clothed in traditional costume smoothly swayed her silk scarf, dancing to the gamelan music playing at the corner of the stage. It was the opening act of Balinese flute maestro Gus Teja, who soon after walked into the striking stage lights. The musical artist from a small village Ubud played his serenading flute melody harmoniously with the music of gamelan instruments behind him. The performance didn’t last long, due to his current health issues, but it ended with audience giving him big applause.
Fans of jazzy and soul songs of Maliq & D'Essentials were enthusiastic to watch the band live on the second day. When the fluorescent stage lights started dimming, more people drew closer to the stage, taking their most comfortable seating position on the grassy ground of Peninsula Island. The band appeared as lights quickly went vibrant and their music immediately invited the crowd to sing along with them. Many naturally stood up from their position and gathered even closer to the stage.