British Council

Music composer Quoc Trung crossed path with the British Council in 2013 when he was searching and building Monsoon – the only annual international high-quality music festival in Vietnam. Thanks to a festival tour visit to the UK and support to invite young artists to perform at Monsoon by the British Council, the Monsoon Music Festival has brought new values and opened doors for connecting, studying and fine-tuning music between Vietnam and the world. 

The first time music composer Quoc Trung coordinated with the British Council was when he was invited to join the World Music Expo (Womex) in Wales in 2013. On that occasion, he planned to organise the Monsoon Festival. With this cooperation and the fundamental support, the British Council laid an essential international foundation for the only international music festival in Vietnam. 

“At that moment, I struggled and was confused about which bands I should include, how many bands to invite and what the capacity should be. The British Council offered to sponsor bands for the Monsoon Festival. Thanks to the British Council, I had confidence there would be international bands at Monsoon 2014. After joining the festival, I selected 9bach band from Wales to perform. I was so happy when it came to Vietnam and not only performed, but also joined the launching event with Vietnamese artists, ” said Trung.

Trung highly appreciated the support to invite UK bands to Vietnam. He explained: “In Europe, they have summer, many cities have big and small festivals, when the artists go on tour.

They have many shows and production costs are normally more affordable. In Vietnam, the scenario is different. In Asia, there is little connection between the countries, distance and seasons. Not to mention the difference between Vietnam’s music market and the world. If the band only performs once at a festival, it will be quite impossible to make it happen. Therefore, support to invite a band to Vietnam sponsored by the British Council is really valuable.” 

However, cooperation and support does not only end at “the cost to invite a music band”, but also connecting to enhance the meaning and value of a festival from different perspectives. An important aspect is support and appreciation for young artists, noticed by Trung at UK festivals and applied at Monsoon to gradually create a habit of supporting young artist and new music: “When you are an audience you should have patience, unconditionally support, encouragement for young artists. There are some unique bands whose performances may not be perfect or experienced, but the audience’s patience, the way the audience appreciates their “imperfection” made me really impressed. Only when people form a habit to support new creations can the development of art evolve. At Monsoon, I want to introduce young artists who have quality products, but have not gained fame yet and step-by-step form the habit of supporting young generation, and new things.”

An another important aspect when cooperating with the British Council is to broaden knowledge, help music composers like Trung keep an eye on world music developments and have opportunities to connect with artists based not only in the UK, but also other countries. 

From 2013 to present, every year music composer Trung has received invitations to crucial music festivals in the UK such as The Great Escape, a festival for young artists all over the world or the Covergence Festival in London for electronic dance music and experience new technology applications. He said: “I have the chance to connect with music producers, organisers from many countries such as Estonia, Greece, Korea and Japan. These trips have helped me share ideas like Asia Music Connection – a forum to share information between festival organisers in Asia.” 

Looking forward to Monsoon in the future, Trung said there would be conferences to introduce regional festival organisers and producers to understand the demand and further development.