SEA Pride Music Festival 2016

(VOVworld) - Music has long been considered the only thing in the world that can connect every soul, regardless of boundaries, backgrounds, genders, social status, etc. The SEA Pride music festival 2016 last Saturday in Hanoi set a good example of connecting people and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) groups through music. Thanh Ha reports.

The summer heat of 35 DC in Hanoi last Saturday couldn’t keep music fans from showing up to the American Club, to join a special and colorful music festival. Organized by the US Embassy in Hanoi and Hexagon Media Vietnam, SEA Pride (South East Asian Pride) music festival 2016 featured various Vietnamese and international singers and bands, mostly from South East Asian countries. Nguyen Dang Tung, representative of Hexagon Media told us what the festival is all about:“This event is for young people, particularly the LGBT community. One of our biggest aims is to create the most exciting and colorful musical destination for fans, and erase all boundaries between straight people and the LGBT community.” Marcia Anglarill, American Cultural Attaché to Vietnam explained: “The reason that we do it is because we think it’s very important to support LGBT rights, because we see LGBT rights as being human rights. We think it’s important to show unity and solidarity with the LGBT movement.”
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SEA Pride Music Festival 2016

SEA Pride 2016 is the third annual festival to be organized in Hanoi so far, following ASEAN Pride 2014 and 2015. A specific theme was chosen for each of the festivals by the LGBT community, based on what they believed was important to them at that time. Marcia again: “Every year we have a different theme, so this year the theme is workplace inclusion, cuz we want to promote a more supportive and tolerant work environment, where people of all different kinds can work in a comfortable and safe environment.”

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Music fans gathered to the stage to watch their idols

The festival attracted not only young passionate music fans and LGBT groups, but also artists from Vietnam and other countries. DJ Alison from the UK expressed her appreciation for organizing such an event in Vietnam: “I feel that it’s fantastic and a progression for Vietnam to open their minds, to become a country of civil human rights and establish themselves as a country of love and not hate.”

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A colorful  corner of the festival

The colorful festival took place from 10 a.m to 11 p.m with great music, food stalls, information desks and small activities that helped people understand more about the LGBT community. With just nearly $10 for a whole-day ticket, festival goers got a chance to sing and dance to fabulous Vietnamese and international music in an exciting and friendly environment. People of all ages got closer to each other through music. DJ Lina Bradford, a transgender artist from New York who rose to fame early thanks to her talent with music, talked about her experience: “I think that music doesn’t have any boundaries; that’s the one thing about music that is so beautiful. In any culture that you go to, people can feel music, the essence and how you bring it to themselves.”

A festival goer from Poland, Camilla was very excited:“It’s very good atmosphere. The people are very friendly and open minded. I think the music is more like a hard core rock festival. You have a good quality of bands which is really nice.”

One of the high quality bands was Oplus, a young and talented group who were proud to be part of the festival for the first time: “This is the first time Oplus is honored to join SEA Pride festival, to use our voice and music to entertain people and show our great support to the LGBT community and their rights to love each other. Love is all that matters.”

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Flash mob dance by the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative

Through positive messages from Oplus and other singers about believing in life and love, the audience got a the real feeling of living in a diverse world, and respecting people’s differences. Thuy Trang from Hanoi said: “I really enjoyed it today, the music and the message behind it. It’s great to listen to live music and watch the artists perform right in front of me. I understand more about the LGBT community also, they are human just like us, they have the right to love each other, and love music, just like us.”