Sports & Entertainment » Entertainment
Music venues face losses in crisis
  • | Tien Phong, | January 28, 2013 03:36 PM

Music cafes and bars in HCM City have been badly affected by economic downturn and other problems, leaving local artists and promoters struggle to earn a living.


The Yoko Bar

The ATB cafe, in District 3, has been a haunt of singer Anh Tuyet, well-known for her pis performances of older, pre-Vietnam War songs as well as those of composer Van Cao. However the cafe has been temporarily closed. The guard who works there said that since the economic downturn the cafe has been seeing fewer and fewer customers.

The well-known singer, Cam Van, opened a cafe-bar on Tu Xuong Street as a place to socialise with her fans, but she has since been forced to relocate to a place on Pham Ngoc Thach Street in District 1.

One of the more celebrated places in the city for rock fans has been the Yoko bar. However it now remains largely empty. The owner, Kim Lan, said that the economic factor is just part of the problem, adding that musical tastes are changing among young people. Scandals involving Vietnamese musicians have become as attractive to many as the music itself, discouraging many artists.

Several music cafes and bars only hold one or two shows per week. In an attempt to attract customers, the Acoustic, one of the music cafes geared towards university students on Ngo Thoi Nhiem Street has tried to improve the quality of their shows, often including three separate performances in one night for the price of one ticket.

Other music cafes have adopted similar bargains, but have not got enthusiastic reactions from customers.

Amid this climate, many venue owners said that they are hesitant to invite more costly Vietnamese singers from overseas. Even if the new venue is larger and can attract bigger crowds, bringing artists from outside Vietnam is expensive.

One promoter of overseas Vietnamese musicians said, "After ten years promoting overseas Vietnamese acts, I see a declining market, with domestic cafes and bars losing ground. I wonder if I will be able to continue music promotion in Vietnam."

Crime also becomes a problem

Another problem faced by many music venues has been incidents and rumoured incidents of crime in the neighborhoods where they are located. News of these problems has often spread by word of mouth, discouraging not only customers, but even artists from attending events, especially when they run late.

Tuan Anh, musician and singer of Le Petit cafe said, "I'm afraid of being robbed on my way to work."

Singer Siu Black, who has a music cafe near Tan Son Nhat Airport, said that she has been attacked immediately outside her cafe. "One day, when I stepped out of the taxi, someone came up to me. I assumed they were looking for my cafe, but they stole my bag."

Artists who regularly perform at the cafe have also complained of similar incidents.

Singer, Doan Minh, said that he chased a thief who made off with his laptop, which contained a number of his own recordings. "The robber tried to scare me with a knife, but fled when he saw that I wasn't intimidated."

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