The Sanur Village Festival is a celebration of the thriving Sanur community, and its harmonious village way of life that combines traditional Balinese culture with a booming tourist town and growing industry. Sanur is smaller than Seminyak and Ubud, offering a relaxed beach holiday for families, a quieter pace, boutique accommodation, and a peaceful lifestyle for locals and expats.
Sanur’s annual festival is a joyous gathering of the Sanur community, who come together to share and celebrate the incredible culture of Sanur. Food stalls line the festival, giving some of the smaller warungs a chance to show off their delicious food to a large audience. The bigger restaurants and bars of Sanur create smaller replica venues for the festival showgrounds, giving customers lots of exciting food options to choose from. My favourite thing is to cruise the smaller warungs, trying new flavours and dishes with a glass of delicious wine from Hattens Winery in hand.
There is entertainment everywhere you look, with amusing games for both adults and children to play and hopefully win a prize, and smaller children can spend hours on fairground rides like miniature Ferris wheels. Roaming through the stalls that sell all kinds of produce, fresh to market fruit, clothes, jewellery, sarongs, candles, incense, and so many other treasures is also a big highlight of the festival. And if that’s not enough the main stage has entertainment going all day and night with traditional Balinese dancing and music, comedy acts, and excellent bands from all over Bali singing a mix of Indonesian music and more popular cover songs.
Thousands of people descend upon the festival every day, between the food, music, stallholders and the carnival atmosphere; it is the event of the year in Sanur. While the traffic pouring in from the bypass is daunting, the parking and queues are well organised so be patient, it’ll be worth a few minutes wait.
There is nothing like the magic of the festival at night, the stalls are lit up with thousands of twinkling fairy lights, and the brightly lit stage catches the colours and sparkle of the costumes and performers. A backlit Ogoh-Ogoh, stunning Balinese dancers and haunting music greet revellers as they arrive, with the party really kicking off when the live bands and music start later on in the night.
If you are in Sanur or Bali when the next village festival is on, mark it in your diary and come join in. Until then, these incredible photos tell the story of the Sanur Village Festival better than words, so please enjoy the story as told through the photos of Josh Holtman.