For the past seven days, this was the time that the BaliSpirit Festival shuttle left from the Ubud soccer field, heading to the Purnati Centre of the Arts. It usually carried seven people, five or six of whom were volunteer crew, of which I was one of them.
This morning, my eyes opened at 6.28am – my body had been conditioned by the past seven days to be in a different position at this time, that it did a split second panic.
But my volunteer stint for the 12th annual festival was done, and just like my volunteer experience in 2018, this year’s has left me with beautiful memories.
Offering my services at the festival has again impacted my life, and in various ways.
1) I become part of a community that understands and values the significance of service to other, aka seva yoga: we gave of our skills & time without expecting anything in return.
2) I reconnected with some returning volunteers, and this time deepened our connection.
3) I connected with some first-time volunteers, and immediately felt ‘at home’, as we speak the same language.
4) I practiced with teachers whom I’d practiced with at the 2018 festival, and remembered why I was first drawn to their class.
5) I discovered other teachers when I decided to just pop in for their class at this festival.
6) I connected with festival attendees who are just becoming aware and conscious of their life.
7) I became comfortable with flowing along as the day unfolded, not bothered or stressed by whatever happened.
Indeed, the volunteer experience is very different from attending as a festival goer. Having done both, there isn’t one that is better than the other, they just offer different experiences.
In fact, BaliSpirit Festival has been a truly visionary event that continues to grow annually. It differs from other festivals for the following reasons:
> Incorporating local Balinese culture into its programme offerings.
> Using festival proceeds to fund projects that benefit local Balinese communities. These include bamboo reforestation, HIV/AIDS awareness, and preservation of Balinese culture, among others.
> Showing that a festival can run smoothly with as little single-use plastic as possible. Some examples include banana leaf plates, compostable takeaway paper packaging & utensils, water refill stations, and even a composting toilet!
> Blending yoga with live music & sound, breath work, holistic healing, dance & movement.
> Providing fresh, nourishing, healthy drinks & food.
> Bringing healthy tourism to Bali, so that its economy remains buoyant despite the low season.
Having attended the festival in the past as part of the media (when I had my own online website focusing on natural, holistic, sustainable living) and now twice as a volunteer, I can say that each edition of the festival improves on the previous one.
I’ve enjoyed every single time that I’m at BaliSpirit Festival, and I look forward to attending it again.
Want more photos? Check my FB page over the next days for uploads.
Notes on Being a Volunteer
All volunteers have to work one shift on all days of the festival. Each shift is usually 5.5-hours. We pay an Impact Fee for being there; it covers our t-shirt, one meal per day, shuttle access. We get to enjoy the festival when we’re not on shift. Applications through a form that is usually open in October of the year before the next festival.