Shady, tree-lined beach setting, pumping music, and good vibes - this is the inaugural edition of Coracle Music Festival!
Image source: cloudfront.net
Held at Ho Tram Camping in Ba Ria, Coracle featured international and local artists as well as food from all over Vietnam. Minus a few minor snafus, the event was LIT! And here, I bring you my faves from the weekend:
Best Festival DJ: Miya
The DJs kept the party rocking all day and all night, rain or nah. Keeping the party goer energy up must be a difficult task. I mean, I personally am more easily distracted than a squirrel in a nut factory but I stopped and listened to a few sets.
One of the DJs though, kept my attention for quite a period. Apparently, she caught the attention of most of the crew because it was the most packed I'd seen the makeshift dance floor. I'm talking about Miya. Based in Hanoi, Miya is a member of the Fragrant Harbour Soundsystem as well as co-founder of Savage Club. I think the (drag) queen of Saigon, Ricardo Glencasa, described her best by saying, “She was literally was an 80s space-disco wet dream and took me to a tribal astral plane!”
Like the ocean waves, Miya’s sets are wholly unrestricted.
Image source: facebook.com/DJmiyaMusic
Where to see DJ Miya in Vietnam:
It might be a bit hard to catch up with Miya, as she is an international traveling DJ, however, if you're lucky, you'll be able to catch her at Savage Club in Hanoi or at least listen to her jam on Mixcloud.
Best Festival Live Band: Hanoing Jazz Band
There were a lot of fantastic live performances all weekend, including Oddisee & Good Company, Los Borrachos, and OPNAIRDRGMKT. The real stand out for me, though, was the Hanoing Jazz Band.
First of all, I heard “jazz band” and thought, “Who wants to hear sleepy jazz standards at this kind of festival?” Boy was I wrong! The sheer awe of seeing 18 people on stage for a live musical performance built anticipation and not one person on that platform let me down.
Horns, percussion, strings, keyboards AND vocal ranges of the gods - the Hanoing Jazz Band had it all! They had the crowd moving, jumping, shouting and dancing right along, bringing the whole energy of the night to frenzy level.
Hanoing Jazz Band covered jazz, blues, R&B, soul and rock songs with the finesse you can only hear from seasoned musicians. Plus, they added a little eye candy for us thirsty gals – some of the members are playing nearly nude! A guitarist and a couple of the horn players are jumping around with oiled chests in their skivvies. YAAAASSSS!!!
Image source: facebook.com/hanoingjazzband
Where to see Hanoing Jazz Band in Vietnam:
Hanoing Jazz Band, you’ve gained another loyal fan! You can catch them at venues around Hanoi and Vietnam. Be sure to follow them on Facebook to stay abreast of their gigs.
Best Festival Performance: GenderFunk
If you haven’t heard of GenderFunk, you must be hiding under a huge rock. The troupe of drag queens, kings and everyone in between have been taking Saigon by sparkly storm and they show no signs of slowing down. Every time they hit the stage you can bet your butt they will bring ever-inclusive drama, disco hits, and glitter, glitter, GLITTER!
Coracle festival goers got to experience a show like no other with the queen mother herself, Esta RICARDO!, lip sync battles and even some new show-stopping talent. A few lucky people joined the queens onstage for a queens vs. audience lip sync battle that was nothing short of perfection. Three words: cartwheel strip tease!
Image source: facebook.com/GenderFunk
Where to see GenderFunk in Saigon:
Don’t worry if you missed them this time but don’t make the same mistake twice. The GenderFunk crew has shows lined up well into next year around Saigon. In fact, yours truly will be participating in their next event, Saigon Is Burning: Bio Queen Edition, on 8 December at Soma Art Cafe. Follow all of the gender-bending antics on Facebook or Instagram.
Most Unique Performance at the Festival: Based On Kyoto
Every now and again, I hear something that I'm sure I don't hate buuuut I'm not sure I love either. It puts me so far out of my comfort zone that I'm forced to grow my mind a little to accept this new thing.
Based On Kyoto did that for me. Standing on the sand, mouth open wide enough to catch flies, I listened and watched, waiting for my brain to catch up to these new sensations. A funky, electronic music DJ, accompanied by a man playing a traditional shamisen while dressed in a traditional Japanese summer kimono AND one of the coolest mature Japanese rockers playing electric guitar.
Visually, they were interesting enough just to observe. The sound was cool, weird, amazing, complex and so layered. It's sort of an old-school psychedelic set yet sounds vaguely reminiscent of something you'd hear in a Japanese cultural performance.
Video source: YOKOCHANNEL
Where to see Based on Kyoto in Saigon:
You can judge for yourself if you’re lucky enough to catch a performance. It could be a hunt, though, because these guys don't even have a Facebook page!
Best Festival Food: Kashew Artisan Nut Cheese
When I go to a festival, I always look forward to the food. I’m a fat girl, ya’ll, and I love to get my grub on! My new fave of the festival, which is also available in Ho Chi Minh City,is none other than Kashew Cheese. I still can’t believe they’ve packed so much flavor into vegan cheese made from nuts. NUTS!
I may have had one... or five of their caprese-style baguettes, but who’s counting. It's healthy, right? STG, this is the best vegan meal you will get at any festival.
Image source: facebook.com/Kashewcheese
Where to get Kashew Cheese in Saigon:
Unfortunately, these queens do not have a store (yet), but you can order any of their heavenly goods directly from their facebook page.
What’s Next for Music Festivals in Vietnam?
TBH, I was just happy to get out of the city for a couple of days and squish my toes in some sand. But Coracle Music Festival delivered so much more, and they've announced that they'll be back next year! Please, support local festivals, local artists, and good vibes.
I know y’all thought I was gonna get out of here without at least stirring a hot cup of tea?? Y’all know I gotta say RIP to Quest Festival! SMDH. People were heartbroken, gutted, absolutely wrecked by cancellation. Some of the talented and resourceful musicians and performers wiped their tears and found new venues to soothe the hearts and minds of the crowd.
But we are all hungry for more! So where can you go to find your fix? #CPG has you covered! Head to the events section on CityPassGuide.com. Smooches!
If you want to follow me on all the great adventures around Saigon, Vietnam, and abroad, please like and follow on Facebook or Instagram: @AngeetheDiva.