VOLUNTEERING AT THE BALI SPIRIT FESTIVAL
By Susanne Rieker
If you love yoga festivals, the Bali Spirit Festival is an event not to be missed. The Bali Spirit Festival is a celebration of yoga, dance and music happening each spring in Ubud, Bali and features a wide variety of performances, classes, workshops and so much more. It’s a truly amazing event!
It’s also a huge festival that requires a large team, and you can be a part of it as well. Every year, Bali Spirit takes on well over 100 volunteers to assist. The next Bali Spirit Festival is happening March 24 – 31, 2019, and you can apply to volunteer right now.
I volunteered at the Bali Spirit Festival in 2018 and I’m happy to share my experience and everything you need to know with you.
So, read on if you’re interested in volunteering at the Bali Spirit Festival!
Some background about the Bali Spirit Festival
The first Bali Spirit Festival was organized in 2008. It was a dream come true: the founders shared a vision to create a festival that would both build and support community through the full spectrum of yoga and a rich diversity of world music and dance.
Since then the festival has grown and reached more people every year. Even in 2018 under the shadow of the volcano Agung erupting over 5,000 people visited.
What I love about the Bali Spirit Festival is the global reach – you really meet people from all over the world – and the magical mix of yoga, dance and music.
When and where is the next Bali Spirit Festival?
The Bali Spirit Festival is happening March 24 – 31, 2019, in Ubud in Bali, Indonesia. The venue is 15 minutes South of Ubud. Imagine a huge resort surrounded by lush green rice fields where multiple pavilions, tents, music platforms and so much more are put up just for the festival. It’s amazing – just have a look at the pictures.
If you want to volunteer at the festival, you have to be available from March 22ndand stay until April 1st.
What do you do as a volunteer?
The Bali Spirit Festival takes on over 100 volunteers each year and there are many different jobs you can do.
I worked in presenter liaisons. This means I was responsible for three presenters who did workshops at the festival – two yoga teachers and a life coach. I was their contact person to answer all their questions and help them with everything possible, for example organizing candles and flowers or a white board. It was a super cool job because I didn’t have a fixed schedule – I had to be at the festival when my presenters where on and be available throughout their workshops, but otherwise I was free to enjoy the festival myself.
All volunteers normally have only half-day shifts (around 5 hours a day) and the rest of the day they can enjoy the festival and join all the workshops and events. Since a full day festival pass costs over $575, this is a pretty fair deal I think.
Other jobs you can do as a volunteer are for example managing a yoga pavilion, the entrance, check for wristbands or work at the backstage area. You can also work before and/or after the festival which gives you the opportunity to visit the whole festival for free in exchange for volunteering.
You can give some preferences of what you would like to do when you apply, but the final decision will be made by the Bali Spirit team based on their needs and your interests.
What is it like to volunteer at the Bali Spirit Festival?
It’s important to note that you need to be in Ubud a few days early. We had two meetings before the actual festival started. One with the other volunteers in my group where we learned everything about our job, and a general orientation meeting where we met all the volunteers, and everyone got their t-shirts. The official volunteer t-shirts are a sort-of uniform that makes it easy for everyone to recognize you’re a volunteer at the festival.
After the orientation you’re responsible to show up to your scheduled shifts and do your job. Because it’s such a big team there’s not a lot of hand-holding. Other people rely on you, so you need to be reliable and of course always on-time (I’m German and ALWAYS on time, so not a big challenge for me).
I loved being part of such a huge team. The team spirit was amazing! Everybody was so helpful and nice.
How can I apply to volunteer at the Bali Spirit Festival?
First, please note that volunteering is not completely free. Every volunteer must pay a $50 fee, which is non-refundable. In exchange you get two t-shirts that make a nice souvenir, a free meal for every shift and access to a festival that costs up to $850.
After you’ve applied you’ll have to wait a few weeks at least until you hear back. They have a lot of applications and really try to match everyone with the right job, which is a crazy task. If you’re accepted you get an email and then you pay the volunteer fee, only after that you’re confirmed.
It’s obviously best to apply far in advance (like right now for 2019), but there are always positions open shortly before the festival starts as well. I think I only applied one month or so before and it worked out.
Where should I stay in Ubud?
The venue is at least 15 minutes’ drive south of Ubud, a bit away from everything else. There is a free shuttle leaving from Central Ubud, so if you don’t drive a scooter yourself it’s best to stay in Central Ubud.
Here are a few places I recommend:
Kunang Kunang Guesthouse
Right across the street from Kafe in Hanoman Street, where the shuttle bus to the Bali Spirit Festival leaves, this little guesthouse offers nice rooms and a pool. I stayed here for my first yoga teacher training and loved it. Prices start at IDR 300,000. I recommend the Superior Room which comes with an amazing rice field view.
Right next door to The Yoga Barn, Ubud Aura has been recommended by many yogis to me who love to stay there every time they are in Ubud. It’s within easy walking distance to everything, has a spa and beautiful rooms. Prices start at around IDR 600,000.
What should I bring?
You need to bring your own yoga mat, they don’t rent yoga mats at the festival (but you can buy one there). I also recommend bringing a refillable water bottle, sun cream, a hat and mosquito repellant. Though you get everything in Ubud as well in case you forget something.
Official Bali Spirit Festival website:
Have you been to the Bali Spirit Festival or do you plan to go? Don’t hesitate to ask me if you have any questions about the Bali Spirit Festival, I’m happy to help.