Bali baby Kelly ‘Bug’ Ariella spreads her wings with Air Fest. Images Ryerson Anselmo. Words Tony Stanton.
Kelly Bug Ariella … shall we start with that name? There’s a lot going on there lol. Bug?
I was given the nick name “Bug” by a very good friend of mine from Melbourne and I kind of just stuck with it. Ariella is actually my middle name, not last.
Tell us about your parents and how you grew up…
I’m of mixed blood or campur, as you would say in Indonesian. My mom is from Manado and Padang and my dad is American. My parents met in Yogyakarta where I was born and lived for nine years before moving to Bali.
Did you ever live in a city?
Yes I have! After finishing high school in Bali I moved to Melbourne for four years where I studied graphic design and photography. I totally fell in love with the city and would love to spend more time there in the near future.
You’re currently involved with the Air Festival, right? What’s that about, and when and how did it come to life?
Air Festival was founded by myself and a group of friends in 2014. The festival started out as an even more intimate event. The original team, comprised of myself, Tiago Oudman, Walker Barnard, Sylvie Foret and Alexander Bonkas – we all have virtually lifelong roots in underground dance music and started the party with a “ let’s just do this and see what happens kind of attitude”. Fast forward four years and The Air Festival has established itself as one of the foremost gatherings of visionaries, musicians, artists and dancers in the region. Its two stages merge underground dance music culture with ceremony and sacredness, creating an unforgettable three-day experience in which friendships are forged, hearts are opened and life is affirmed.
You’ve decided to move it to Bali this year, away from its original home on Gili Air. Why is that?
Recently, we learned that Air Festival’s home on Gili Air will be undergoing extensive renovations throughout 2018. Beginning in March, local authorities are scheduled to demolish numerous ocean front buildings that have surpassed the legal high tide building mark. For us, this means that our beautiful dancefloor under the stars will most likely be clogged by rubble, and that our beach will be inaccessible due to the mess.
And so we made a tough call and decided to embrace change, accepting that Air Festival’s home-base is getting a makeover and that it will be even more awesome when we return in 2019. So this year we are taking a temporary breather from our beloved Gili Air and moving just a hop, skip and jump away to La Brisa on Echo Beach.
For those of you already in Bali, you may have already been to this epic, super-eco beach club on Canggu’s Echo Beach.
For Air Festival, La Brisa will be expanding to take over the northern half of the beach area, as well as some beautiful and until-now hidden property. We are so grateful for this space! Two stages, plus extra magic in the daytime and we’ll be able to go virtually around the clock. House-n-Techno, Disco and Cacao, live music, slow and organic beats, transformational workshops and vibrant yoga, not to mention legendary surfing, all within the same few hectares.
If we were to wander down to the beach and find the festival going on, what would be our first impression?
A futuristic beach land utopia!
What would be the strangest thing we would find?
Merlin the wizard (no joke he has showed up before!)
What would be the tastiest thing we would find?
A delicious meal from one of our food stalls! Think vegan baos with sweet potato fries washed down with a turmeric elixir.
Other than the festival, what else have you been involved in?
I have been involved in many different projects from launching a new events collective called Basement Love to modelling, styling and even creating my own 100% natural skin care line. I feel like I’m always doing a million things at once!
We’ve seen you as the face behind a lingerie line in Bali have we not?
Ah yes you have, that was for my friend Maikhan’s beautiful lingerie brand, probably my favourite on the island!
Describe yourself in three words.
Dreamer, passionate and creative.
You’re on a long drive at night in the desert. You go through a canyon and the road is completely blocked by a large injured animal. You can’t get around it in your truck. It’s six hours back to civilization and one hour onwards to your destination. What do you do?
Firstly I would get out of the truck and help the animal, secondly I would try to put it in my truck and If I was unable to do that I would try to get some help because I doubt that I would be able to put a large injured animal in a truck on my own! I’m not one to leave an injured animal on its own – I would have to help it.
Finally Kelly, what’s your ultimate vision for Air Festival?
To create a space where people can lose / find themselves, express themselves free of judgement and have deep soul connections with others and the music. Eventually I would also like to see the Festival moving to its own island (we have a few in mind that I don’t want to name yet!) and morph into it.