Pelem Festival (the Festival) was conceived in 2016 by compelling passion and relentless dedication for arts and culture of Jawa that Agung Gunawan, the director of Sampang Agung Centre for Performing Arts (SACPA) had held for years.

The aim of this Biennial festival is for the preservation of Javanese cultural heritage of dance and music, along with the attempt of continuous exploration on the contemporary aesthetics forms at the spiritual & historical natural environment in Pacitan, Indonesia.  The Festival is also held in coincidence with Full Moon Festival which was founded in 2013 by SACPA to celebrate traditional and local music and dance at the farming and forestry community, where there is little access performing arts otherwise.  


The Festival creates a rare opportunity for all invited artists to interact, witness, experience, exchange philosophical, cultural and artistic ideas and practices with Javanese locals, such as the SACPA students, technical and support staff and emerging & established local Javanese artists.


With the tranquil and unique 4 transformative performance sites built on the native landscape of the East Java countryside, Agung, the director of the Festival, wishes all artists to sense a breath of nature and dance within and beyond self.

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Supported by:

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What’s Pelem Festival?

The village, Pelem, is in the middle of the East Java Island which is located at 3-hour drive from Yogyakarta.  Despite the remote location, Pelem is vibrant, socially connected and art village in the Pacitan province.  Endless effort and contributions for the remote community through artistic activities for past 36 years has been notably acknowledged by the Pacitan City Council and the local community, and Pelem Festival continuously commits to realise social inclusiveness through arts, a sustainable injection for the local economy and the artistic excellence by sharing and questioning current artistic and daily practices among this international arts community.

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Night performances program

Pelem Festival night program over 2 nights showcases short performances presented by international and Indonesian solo & group artists.

5 day Intensive Workshop

Pelem Festival kicks off with the 5-day residential workshop led by the acclaimed and Javanese contemporary dancer, Agung Gunawan, followed by the official opening ceremony with street parade. 

Opening Ceremony and Performances

A series of traditional and Indonesian pop and contemporary performances by local artists and villagers start off the performance week of the Festival to awake, stimulate and celebrate festive and creative senses. 

Pelem Moving Arts Performance (Pelem MAP)

In the Pelem MAP, inter/national artists are encouraged to explore the unique landscapes and history of the sites to produce experimental works at the 4 distinctive performance spaces.

Full Moon Festival

Performances by local villagers


A Forum

a forum is also being held at the end of the Festival to activate discourse on what traditional and contemporary dance (or in-between) means in the post-modernist era.