05/05/2010

Bracing Up for Hue Cultural Festival Kick-off On June

Something that began as a display of Vietnam’s royal heritage along with the interesting local culture of Thua-Thien-Hue province, the Hue Festival had turned into one of the biggest attractions marked in the country’s cultural calendar and a much looked-forward to event not just for the people of Hue, but in the whole of Vietnam and its known friends across the globe. The festival was first launched in 2000 presented by diverse theatre, music and dance performances coupled with colorful circus and puppetry acts. Since then, the Hue Festival is celebrated by the country biennially in even-numbered years.

The next Hue Festival celebration will take place on June 5-13, 2010. With activities centering on its theme “Cultural Heritage with Integration and Development”, a unique showcase of music and art performances featuring Vietnamese and Hue culture is expected alongside royal and folk festivities topped by participation of foreign art troupes. More than 40 groups of artists and performers from around 30 countries worldwide have committed to participate on the upcoming celebration. Performers from Europe, Asia, North America, Australia, and for the first time, Africa, will set foot on the city for the festival. The deputy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had assured of the most favorable conditions for accommodating the delegates and artists from foreign countries attending this event on their visa processing.

‘Le Grand Retour’ street show featuring giant puppets (by Tof Theatre group), a special visual art street display by Baladeux Circus group and a play performance by Vietnamese-Belgian comedian Michelle Nguyen are among the recent performances pledged by the respective artists from Belgium. Thomas Bailey, a renowned US singer-songwriter, will also jumpstart his first Asian tour on this year’s Hue Festival. His interesting American music coupled with bluegrass fiddle and guitar in an energy-filled performance is sure to set the crowd’s excitement to a higher level and increase the already vivacious spirit of every Hue celebration. Though a variety of performances by the visiting artists will be presented, the traditional Hue song and dance plays together with music performances of the Hue court remains as among the highlights during the 9-day festival.

The festival also honors the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long – Hanoi, thus, inauguration of the statue of King Quang Trung Nguyen Hue will be witnessed. The cultural performances will not only take place within the city, but will expand beyond venues used during previous years to surrounding towns and districts. However, the focal point of most of the festivities will be at the beautiful Hue Citadel on the banks of the Huong (Perfume) river. The festival’s opening ceremony will be held at the Ngo Mon Square. The next few days will be filled with massive entertainment. Among the key events to take place is the re-enactment of “Navy maneuver under the Nguyen Dynasties” on the evening of June 7, an Ao Dai Grand Fashion Show on the evening of June 8, and the Nam Giao Offering Ritual on the next night. Spectacular shows are to set on the evenings of June 6-12, among which are the “Voyage to reclaim the country’s land”, “The Perfume River’s legends”, “Royal Palace by Night”, “Viet’s Beauty” and the “The Oriental Night”. Royal activities and rituals will be demonstrated and a gastronomy festival with traditional Hue vegetarian dishes and royal delicacies will occur to add color to the celebration. The closing ceremony, which will be on the evening of the 13th, is to be held on the banks of the Huong River.

With every single day and evening packed with diverse art performances, this is anticipated to be the biggest Hue Festival ever to take place and will outnumber the 2,000 artists and 210,000 visitors who turned up in the last held Hue Festival in 2008. Known as the fifth held festival ever since the tradition began, the 2008 Hue Festival was another equally colorful celebration manifested by an exhibition of Martial Arts Contests, Ao Dai celebration, Nam Giao rite, Royal palace night and cultural performances on top of charming and splendid city decorations adding vibrancy to the whole occasion.

In continuity, this year’s Hue Festival will exude the same colorful characteristic and the unique expression of cultural diversity. Different sectors are working together to ensure things flow smoothly. The Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism are taking steps to ensure that there will be no price hikes during the festival season, which happened in the previous celebration. At present, the whole of Hue has about 6,000 hotel rooms to house the immense visitors expected to come and celebrate with Vietnam. With its lined-up programs imbued with the cultural characteristics of France, US, Japan, Australia and Central Africa, it also marks as a meeting place for ancient capital city representatives and countries with world cultural heritage sites and traditions like Vietnam itself. Featuring the cultural identity of the country and the central city of Hue in particular, the Hue Festival is one rich national tourism and cultural event which had successfully gained international recognition. A beautiful showcase of its unique culture, Vietnam will continue to present Hue Festival as an attractive biennial event not just for the Vietnamese, but for other countries to acquaint to. Vietnam and many across the globe then anticipates a huge blast-off this June 2010.