Bali Spirit Festival 2014 wrapped Sunday night with a 7 hour concert at ARMA museum. Rio Helmi went down to check the action, took plenty of shots, stayed all night, edited all morning (almost losing a whole card’s worth of pics in the process) and with the help of spell check even managed to pen a couple of paragraphs.

 

The traditional Bali Spirit Festival wrap concert is one of the most eagerly awaited in the circles of smiling, loving, and generally fancifully (yeah, scantily to0) clad yogis and yogini people who flood Ubud for this annual happening. This year was no exception.

 

Nosstress, a popular local band came on as the warm-up. It was unfortunate that they were only on for thirty odd minutes – they have great stage presence and really interact with their fans, mostly Indonesians of different ages who know the words by heart: their lyrics tend to be social comment couched in very humorous but biting terms all set in an easy going style. By the end of their gig they had quite a few expats swaying along. Co-founders Kadek Gun and Meghan agree that next time they deserve a better (bigger) slot!

 

_RIO0675

Denpasar based group Nosstress are, er, relaxed, but fun with great lyrics and an easy style.

 

T4288x2844-00019

Nosstress’ fans know their often biting but humorous lyrics by heart and love to sing along.

 

T4288x2844-00024 T4288x2844-00101 T4288x2844-00073 T4288x2844-00076

Above photos: It’s a kind of a shadow thing sometimes – the three guys from next door who are Nosstress.

 

Then vocalist Peia came on with her musicians, and I have to say she has a knockout voice, beautiful sound. By contrast though, her moody music wasn’t really quite the mood of the evening which was really rearing to go. After a couple of numbers (okay half way between the second number) I wandered off to the organic plethora of stalls to grab a bite.

 

_RIO0703T4288x2844-00112

Peia from Portland, whose voice is mesmerizing.

 

I got back in time for a fast and furious series of Latin tinged numbers from the mix and match local expat group Garden Underground, plus the antics of much liked Dustin Thomas who, despite minimalist lyrics and a repetitive repertoire, does have plenty of chutzpah and a following.

 

T4288x2844-00227

Dustin Thomas, whose energy is irrepressible.

 

_RIO1018

Something about Zion. It’s a Reggae thing…

 

_RIO0927

The main  gardener of Garden Underground sings his song..

 

T4288x2844-00209

_RIO0942

Africa is to Bali Spirit Festival what India is to Ubud Writers and Readers Festival… Oh wait is that Baba Bubba?

 

T4288x2844-00171

And isn’t that Rob Weber, one of the BSF co-founders? Oh cool, he plays music.  And with Garden Underground.

 

_RIO1096

This is Levy. She is not a musician, she goes to school. Green School in fact. She is 11 years old, and she’s looking for a million signatures to stop people using plastic bags in Bali. They’re on Facebook. Somebody help, I can’t remember the exact name – if you know it, please put it in a comment below.

 

Then finally the star of the evening appeared: Aussie musician Xavier Rudd. And the crowd came alive. He switched instruments in an almost seamless flow of string and wind. Girls swooned, guys swayed, and then the whole house just rocked as he and percussionist Charles Wall just kept it all flowing fast and sometimes furious. It being Bali, and it being Bali Spirit Festival inevitably there was some extraneous entertainment. Some brother (from another, not Aboriginal mother or maybe not even father it would seem, but I could be wrong) dressed and painted in Aboriginal gear did what I can only hope is some kind of  Aboriginal dance. Are rabbits part of the animist thing? Then there was the glowing hula hoop girl, who despite dropping one of the three a couple of times maintained that the show must go on, and what self confidence. Again, an evening with chutzpah. But none of this seemed to faze either Xavier Rudd or his firecracker percussionist Charles Wall.

 

 

_RIO1100

What is it? Who is it?

 

T4288x2844-00252

IT’S XAVIER!!.

 

T4288x2844-00263

 

Slowly he opens his eyes…

 

T4288x2844-00310

then his fingers start start plucking.

 

T4288x2844-00415

And the crowd starts rocking – we’re off!

 

T4288x2844-00473

Ladies and Gentlemen: Charles Wall, percussionist extraodinaire!

T4288x2844-00527_RIO1172

We like. Security also likes.

 

T4288x2844-00190

We all like.

 

T4288x2844-00317_RIO1113

Oh wait a minute…..   Ummm… A brother from another mother?   It’s Ummm, right,  not Ommmmm?

 

T4288x2844-00370T4288x2844-00431

Do these really need a caption?

 

T4288x2844-00575

Okay, so let’s chill again..

 

T4288x2844-00507

 

T4288x2844-00376

Embrace the one you’re with.

 

T4288x2844-00600

Or whatever…

 

_RIO1135

Why don’t you come down here…

 

_RIO1185

“Here, take this instead!”  (Nah, not a Pete Townshend moment after all, thank goodness, what with those bare feet and all)

 

_RIO1320_RIO1245

 

Obviously by this stage (ahem) the BSF 2014 staff are off duty as well,

 

At the final concert for the 2014 Bal Spirit Festival in Ubud, Bali:

G’night. Good Morning. It’s over. Come back next year!

 

Then, after the obligatory BSF staff line up (hey give these guys a break – they bust their ar..s all year to pull this huge crazy thing together, give them their 30 minutes in the limelight!) Baba (or is Bubba?) who as BSF’s cosmic love MC has kept the crowds on track for years now,  told us that “You don’t have go home, but you have to leave now…” So as the hardy wandered off to after-parties, I rode home to a hot shower. As I got into bed I looked at my watch: 2:15. It’s almost the time I get up in the morning!!! Most definitely a wrap.