BaliFest - Topanga
By Tricia Watts



Last year on October 12th, 2002, the world was hit with a second devastating terrorist act following 9/11. This time tourists, mostly Australians, were targeted on the very peaceful island of Bali in Indonesia. Among these tourists were expatriates from many countries around the world who lived in Bali year-round and the Balinese who worked at the clubs in Kuta which were decimated, killing nearly 200 people.

One year later Bali has suffered a huge loss of identity and loss of economic flow. Almost 50 Balinese children have lost a parent in the blast, and for me, I lost a niece who meant the world to me.

In November following the bombing, I traveled to Bali for my very first trip East. In hand I took with me a copy of the translated “Bagavad Gita” to try to understand more about the thinking of this island I was going to visit, that is 95% Hindu. What I learned was a mixture of the spiritual with nature, and a vision of life with choices, can bring the self into a higher realm of being.

I was anxious to meet the Balinese to see for myself if their people were to be feared or hated because of what had happened to my niece. Was it possible that the culture my niece found so enchanting could be responsible for her death? This was simply not the case. From the moment I landed and during the 2-1/2 days I was on Bali attending a mass ritual ceremony to cleanse the island of evil spirits, I was embraced with warmth and sadness by the Balinese. I was in awe of their commitment to rituals which acknowledge the souls of the dead and their love for all ways of being artistic.

As many victims struggle to put their lives back together, I decided to produce BaliFest-Topanga 2003, to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Kuta bombing and to provide a fundraiser in honor of Deborah Lea Snodgrass, a very brave and thoughtful soul who was drawn to the Balinese culture for six years.

In the Santa Monica Mountains off Hwy 27, at the Topanga Community Club on Sunday, October 12th from noon til six, Topangans and guests to the canyon will honor those affected by the bombing, and most importantly, will celebrate a culture which embraces peace, the Balinese.

There will be Gamelon Music, Shadow Play Theatre, Balinese dancers and a special appearance band. Participants will be able to eat Indonesian/Balinese foods, purchase crafts, clothing and home furnishing from Bali. There will also be a raffle for a trip to Bali and workshops teaching Balinese Dance, Shadow Play and Mask Making. Entrance cost is $10.00 which covers entertainment. Workshops, foods and crafts are additional costs.

Please go to to find out more about the event, directions, booths, and performers. Proceeds will go to the following organizations: Bali Street Dog Foundation, Batungsel Project, Kuta International Disaster Scholarship and Pups for Peace. To volunteer or be a sponsor call (310) 455-3135 or e-mail 

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