Damian Kilroy. Photo by Francis Xavier

On the eve of the first edition of the Mui Ne Music & Arts Festival, Sian Kavanagh speaks to Damian Kilroy, the man behind Loud Minority, the organiser of the event’s main stage

 

For any lover of contemporary live music in Ho Chi Minh City, it is hard not to have heard of Loud Minority. Even if you haven’t been to their gigs you probably know some of the acts they’ve brought to town. Since starting up in 2013, Loud Minority has been putting together some of the most unique gigs in Saigon focusing primarily on indie rock in a city dominated by EDM and DJs. This year they have been hard at work coordinating the main stage at the Mui Ne Music and Art Festival.

 

Behind the scenes of Loud Minority is Englishman, Damian Kilroy. A teacher, event organiser and music lover, after arriving in Vietnam six years ago, it became clear that he would have to put his past experience to good use. But meeting him, the first thing he offers is a shy smile; you’d never know that this chilled out guy was the muscle behind some of the best indie gigs in Ho Chi Minh City.

 

“At the end of the day I realised that if I didn’t start organising some gigs, then the bands I wanted to see were never going to make it here,” he says.

 

Surprise Yourself

 

With 10 years of music event organising in the UK, Croatia and now Vietnam, Damian is no stranger to the intricacies of planning a music festival. Though it’s never an easy feat, it’s always worth the effort in the end.

 

“There’s something special about seeing a band you’ve never heard before for the first time at a live show,” he explains. “In the age of YouTube and streaming it’s so easy to dismiss someone without really giving them a proper chance. At festivals like these, some of the best performers are those you’ll have never heard of before; it’s worth coming just to surprise yourself at what you’re going to enjoy.”

 

This is one of the first big destination festivals for the southern end of Vietnam (the North already seems to have it tied up). Though it’s going to be amazing, first time festival attendees need to understand one thing: you’ve got to pace yourselves.

 

“There are three days worth of fun going on, and you won’t want to miss a minute of it,” says Damian. He’s right. With music starting at 4pm and going on until midnight, and then the after parties at Dragon Beach, Pogo, and Line Up, you’ll want to take this advice to heart.

 

The whole event is going to have a blend of live art as well, including sand sculptures, painting, projections and 3D mapping, all while creating one of the biggest live art pieces to have ever been made in Vietnam.

 

“It’s all about bringing people together who do cool stuff, and using that energy to create a great atmosphere,” says Damian. For him, Mui Ne is the perfect place to execute this mix of artists, musicians and revelers. “It’s is a proper seaside town built on fun, relaxation, and easy going vibes.”

 

If that doesn’t make you want to pack up your swimsuit, and come play through the night, then you might want to get your head checked.

 

 Mui Ne Music Festival will take place at 283 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Ham Tien war, Mui Ne, with music starting at 4pm until midnight. For tickets, go to: https://ticketbox.vn/event/mui-ne-music-and-arts-festival-50650# and for more details about the event check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/muinemusicandartsfestival

Sian Kavanagh

A Liverpool-born writer who has lived in Amsterdam, Oregon, US and now Ho Chi Minh City, Sian recently graduated with a BA in Journalism from the University of Oregon. When she's not busy with Word Magazine, Siân is volunteering in media production for the Vinacapital Foundation, and is passionate about salsa dancing, exploring Vietnamese cuisine, and hanging out with her 11-year-old French Bulldog.

Website: www.sianjkavanagh.com

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