Both The Great Escape Festival in the UK and Monsoon Musical Festival in Vietnam are ideal models of music festivals, providing newly debuted bands the opportunity to perform their compositions in front of producers and music promoters from all over the world.
Thanks to the British Council’s efforts in connecting representatives of both festivals, this cooperation will open up opportunities for new artists, and develop a solid foundation for potential and young musicians. The British Council has helped to create a bridge between the UK and Vietnam, giving a chance for both countries to share knowledge of each other’s local context, as well as take advantage of open networks in the music scene around the world.
Monsoon Music Festival
Starting from 2014, Monsoon Music Festival is an annual music festival held in Vietnam, directed by Vietnamese renowned musician Quoc Trung. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, unfortunately, the live Monsoon Music Festival has been postponed in the past two years.
In addition to organizing “offline” events, Monsoon Music Festival is still maintaining several online activities and projects. This may become the future trend of entertainment culture when events are implemented in both online platforms and real-life. The festival has not yet released its 2022 schedule.
How the story began
Musician Quoc Trung and producer Mai Thang: In May 2016, we were invited by the British Council to set out to find young artists in Brighton, UK. This place is also where The Great Escape Festival was held, a festival dedicated to “new” music. That was also our first interaction with The Great Escape and its crew. We connected with Adam Ryan — programmer of The Great Escape — and later invited him to speak at the Music Conference at the Monsoon Music Festival.
A few difficulties along the way
Quoc Trung and Mai Thang: Due to the lack of experience, we encountered several challenges when starting Monsoon, and could not imagine a clear vision for it. In addition, the Vietnamese culture and environment are very different from that of the West, so organizing the event was also faced with many difficulties.
For example, at first, our partners did not know what Monsoon was and thought that it was just a concert night with only singers singing. Audiences were sometimes confused and didn’t know what they were coming for. Moreover, in the early years, all participants in the creation of this festival were still in the process of getting to know each other.
When collaborating with The Great Escape, the most difficult thing was the pandemic situation. In addition to organizing online seminars or dialogues, if not hindered by COVID-19, we could have brought bands and artists representing Vietnam to the UK and vice versa.
Bringing artists to other countries not only gives them the opportunity to perform, but the crew could also learn a lot of useful knowledge.
Quoc Trung and Mai Thang: Through Monsoon Music Festival and The Great Escape’s collaboration, we hope to create more connections between the two music festivals, as well as create a connection between English and Vietnamese music scenes.
In the future, we hope to be able to introduce more new artists to the Vietnamese audience by bringing the stage of The Great Escape to Monsoon Music Festival. At the same time, we also hope to expand opportunities to introduce Vietnamese artists not only to the UK, but also to worldwide audience through a Vietnam Stage at The Great Escape.
Along with that, Monsoon Music Festival wishes to raise the quality of Vietnamese bands and young artists, so that our artists can confidently perform and express their artistry on the international stage.
We have so much hope about this collaboration; there’s so much to learn from each group. We also look forward to organizing a city festival based on the The Great Escape model. When that happens, it would be the first city festival in the country, and that’s something to really be excited about.
The Great Escape
The Great Escape Festival is a music festival dedicated to new bands, who have the desire to approach organizers and record labels to develop their professional careers. This festival always receives enthusiastic response from young artists and music producers.
The Great Escape Festival usually takes place over three days, with the participation of many artists and bands, performing at nearly 30 different venues in the city of Brighton, UK. The Great Escape’s next music festival will take place from May 11-14, 2022.
How the story began
Adam Ryan: In 2016, musician Quoc Trung and producer Mai Thang were invited by the British Council to attend The Great Escape, so we all had the chance to talk and discuss. I see a lot in common between The Great Escape and Monsoon Music Festival, from organizing a professional music festival to introducing young artists and creative talents.
A few difficulties along the way
Adam Ryan: Because of the pandemic, many international music festivals and showcases are gradually shifting to online. This may not give the audience a complete experience in terms of atmosphere and sound. I can think of this as a difficulty, but at the same time, artists actually can save on accommodation and transportation costs when participating in events.
That could be how the game must change. With online events, international music experts can easily attend, opening up opportunities to find worthy talents to represent the country participating in the international music market.
Adam Ryan: It is still the desire to change the habits of the majority of the audience, thereby making them feel more open, following the new creations and discoveries of young artists. This will create more innovation in the music industry — as well as the creative industries — in both countries.
Translated by Thao Van