It comes without surprise that with the growing effects and worry of COVID-19, alongside the increasing need for social distancing, major annual festivals in Bali have been postponed
The first to announce their postponement was The Ubud Food Festival, which was supposed to be held 17-19 April, celebrating their 6th annual event.
Of course, with so many international chefs and culinary stars unable to make it, as well as the increased sensitivity surrounding food-related programs, the festival committee announced on the 6th of March that the festival would be postponed to the 26-28 June 2020.
“We are overwhelmed by the support from participating chefs and speakers over our decision and we are grateful for the kind offers to assist with this change,” said UFF Founder and Director Janet DeNeefe. “We would never do anything that could potentially cause harm to our community. We’ll continue to follow the news surrounding this topic to ensure we present a safe and fun Festival.”
Following this, on 15 March 2020, the BaliSpirit Festival also announced that it would be postponing their week-long event, not yet determining a new date until the COVID situation becomes clearer.
The festival, one of the largest yoga gatherings in Asia, was supposed to be held 29 March – 5 April. Being so close to the festival dates, it was unsure whether they would simply go ahead, but as events unfolded and Indonesia, too, joined the Coronavirus crisis, founder Meghan Pappenheim issued a personal announcement.
“We have weighed every option we could to keep the Festival going this year, as we believe that the vibration of an event BaliSpirit is EXACTLY what we all need. But it is very clear to us that with the Pandemic now a Global Emergency, all of us in the world must focus on the best interest, and the health and wellness of the broader community.”
These festivals have been key economic drivers every year, especially to Ubud, attracting international and domestic visitors to come to the island. As Meghan Pappenheim has said, in these times, such festivals are what we need, at least emotionally and spiritually, their postponement is an absolute necessary.
No doubt when the Coronavirus pandemic is over, these festivals will be crucial in attracting visitors back to the island, when it the tourism industry will need as much help it can get to boost the local economy.