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09/03/2020 - 07:47

Hue Festival 2020 to be a safe festival

To ensure the safety of the public, visitors, and artists in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the organization time of Hue Festival 2020 has been officially changed. Originally, the event was planned to take place in April 2020. Now it has been timed from August 28 to September 2, 2020.

Thua Thien Hue Newspaper had an interview with Mr. Huynh Tien Dat, Director of Hue Festival Center, Deputy Head of Organizing Committee (Committee) of Hue Festival 2020 to gain more specific information about the shift.

Polish art troupe performing at Hue Festival 2018

Could you please give our readers more details about why the committee has rescheduled Hue Festival 2020?

As is known, the outbreak of acute respiratory infections caused by the novel strain of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has not been under firm control. Therefore, organizing Hue Festival from the 1st to 6th of April 2020 (only one month away) as per the initial plan would not be safe for the public, visitors, residents, and artists.

Earlier, the People's Committee of Thua Thien Hue Province sent its proposal to the Standing Committee of the Provincial Party Committee and gained their agreement on the change of the organization time as we need more time to control the epidemic, as well as to create better conditions for the Committee to prepare the festival in the best way.

This change goes in line with the policy of the Government, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism which regulates that festivals shall not be organized during the outbreak. Therefore, it has also been highly appreciated by our partners and the people as everyone puts safety first.

Will this rescheduling also mean there are changes in the programs compared to the original plan?

Hue Festival 2020 will maintain its theme, content, and duration (6 days and nights). Accordingly, Hue Festival 2020 will be officially opened at 20:00 on August 28; concluded at 20:00 on September 2, 2020, featuring the theme “Cultural Heritage with Integration and Development; Hue is Always New”.

The only change is that we might have different art troupes to perform at Hue Festival. At the time of Hue Festival in late August and early September, some troupes may have scheduled their show in other places and will not be able to come to Hue.

In this regard, the Committee has been discussing with the embassies to reselect art troupes if that happens. Our partners also affirmed that in cases of such changes, alternative troupes of the same excellence would be sent to the event.

Street festival program at Hue Festival 2018

In case that some countries could not send their troupes, the Committee will take appropriate measures to fill up the intended programs. Given the advantage that there is a high number of registered groups, the committee could proactively rearrange the shows and stages.

What are the difficulties that come along with this change of organization time?

The change of time will more or less cause difficulties for the preparation, as well as the organization. As for the sponsors for the Hue Festival, moving the date to the end of August and early September will put the Committee in a passive position in fulfilling the initial commitment of promoting the brands.

Domestic partners and artists also face some inconveniences because they had planned for the event at the beginning of the year. With this change, we need to negotiate with them to secure their attendance.

For international partners, in case of changes in the participating troupes, the negotiation process must then start over, which will bring about some disruptions in our plans as it involves modifications in technical requirements and timeline. Therefore, the preparation would take more time and effort.

The provincial leaders assigned Hue Festival Center (the standing unit) to officially notify immediately domestic and international partners and sponsors as well as to negotiate on alternatives to guarantee the adaptability, quality, and efficiency of the overall program. These days, the Committee has surveyed the partners and received their consensus on the change of time.

Will the delay affect the initial objectives, such as stimulating tourism?

The overarching objective of Hue Festival is to create an event with a series of activities not only to promote conservation and create an exchange stage for typical cultures around the globe but also to attract visitors and build up a recurring product for Hue tourism.

Particularly, when being held after the COVID-19 epidemic, if that works out, Hue Festival 2020 would carry a mission that is even more important. At that time, there would be an urgent demand to stimulate tourism after a long time under the outbreak’s impact.

The committee hopes that Hue Festival 2020 would be an event of great interest to domestic and international visitors to Hue and could provoke and stimulate the travel need of the domestic population.

In case the outbreak would have not been under control at the end of August and early September, what will be the plan that the committee has in mind to bring about safety to the event?

The committee has intensively discussed this scenario recently. The new timeline for the event came out from our best anticipation and careful calculation. The new date is considered to fit well with the current situation. It was timed not earlier in order to avoid the impact of the outbreak which would require some months to be under control. Also, it cannot be set to later than that given the starting period of the rainy season in Hue.

In the worst case that the epidemic has not yet been pushed back until from 28 August to 2 September 2020, the date should be changed again. It is obvious that the festival will only be held when the safety of the audiences and visitors are absolutely guaranteed as well as when people feel secure and have no worries about the epidemic.

Thank you very much for sharing!

Story and photos: Duc Quang