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Mr. Festival brings colourful music party to Vietnam
  • By Ngoc Lan | | October 04, 2013 03:33 PM

Philippe Bouler, who has produced and provided consultation for over 50 festivals in the world, shares with DTiNews some of the special features of the coming music festival and his remarks on local artists.


 Philippe Bouler is also known as Mr Festival for his various works

Philippe Bouler, also known as Mr Festival, first arrived in Vietnam to direct a French puppetry festival under the initiative of the AFAA (Association of French Artistic Action) in 1984. He is also well-known in Vietnam for producing the Hue Festival since 2000. In addition, he has directed and provided consultation for many French festivals in Vietnam such as the Decouflé and the Royal de Luxe.

Talking about the upcoming 'Oh là là' music festival, Bouler said this is a chance to introduce modern French music to Vietnamese audiences since music transcends all language barriers and borders.

The 'Oh là là Music Festival' takes place in Hang Day Stadium, Hanoi on Oct 12, to celebrate 40 years of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and France, but despite its grand scale, the ticket prices are only VND30,000 and VND50,000 (USD1.5-2.4). Normally, a festival ticket to watch La Grande Sophie in France costs about EUR50.

"This is also my gift to young people in Vietnam; we all know young people like to discover new things and they love music. Not just in Vietnam but young people all over the world often do not have much money so reasonable ticket prices mean everyone can participate. We can't let people in for free because the crowd would be uncontrollable and then we'd have a major safety risk." he said.

Over 30 years, Bouler has come to Vietnam 40 times and he has also shared his close ties with Vietnam with other French artists. "Other artists, like Sophie and Leila, were excited when I asked them to come to Vietnam with me. That's why this festival is not mine but a festival of friends in both countries."

Even though Bouler has not disclosed any details about the festival, it seems like he will pay homage to Vietnam's most famous and most-beloved song writer Trinh Cong Son, who shared many ideas with him about music and life.


 Bouler is art director and producer for 'Oh là là' Festival

Aside from Vietnamese and French songs, the festival will bring to the audience songs in other languages such as Arabic and English; plus the presence of outstanding singers from Vietnam and France, namely Thanh Lam, Le Cat Trong Ly, La Grande Sophie, Leila Bounous, Quang & Minh and Viet Vo Da House (who play a blended style of electronic music and Vietnamese traditional instruments) and the rock band Poni Hoax.

The festival is designed to build in excitement, ending with the rock performances. "Young people will really be excited." he said.

But keeping a festival exciting is not an easy job and even with years of experience, he said the success of a festival is measured by the satisfaction of both the participating artists and the audience.

Bouler said, "I was the art director and producer for the Hue Festival in 2000 and 2002. After that, I was a  consultant and I realised that there are two controversies surrounding the festival. The first is about traditional and modern music: there are people who want to keep folk songs and traditional performances while others lean toward more contemporary sounds. The second controversy is about quantity and quality and I personally support the quality side."

Talking about the modern music scene in Vietnam, Bouler said he sees a rapid growth in the past ten years.

"20 years ago, I felt that it was too soon to have a cooperative show between Vietnam and France, but now Vietnamese artists have produced so many new songs in various genres and I think several Vietnamese artists can easily join the international market now."

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