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!



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



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.



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.



Dustin Thomas, whose energy is irrepressible.



Something about Zion. It’s a Reggae thing…



The main  gardener of Garden Underground sings his song..




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



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



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.




What is it? Who is it?







Slowly he opens his eyes…



then his fingers start start plucking.



And the crowd starts rocking – we’re off!



Ladies and Gentlemen: Charles Wall, percussionist extraodinaire!


We like. Security also likes.



We all like.



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



Do these really need a caption?



Okay, so let’s chill again..





Embrace the one you’re with.



Or whatever…



Why don’t you come down here…



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




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.