Assorted out-door activities
This year witnessed the increase in both quality and quantity of outdoor community cultural events. Prominent among them were the Hanoi Ao Dai (traditional Vietnamese long dress) Festival, the Ho Chi Minh City Ao Dai Festival, Hue Festival and Hanoi Book Fair.
The year 2016 also saw the greater care attached to cultural and entertainment spaces by local authorities in major cities across the country. Since early September, a pedestrian space in the vicinity of Hoan Kiem Lake opened for public from 7pm on Friday to midnight Sunday. Visitors to the space are offered a number of traditional arts programs, such as Chau van (spiritual singing), Cheo (traditional opera), Quan ho (love duet singing), and contemporary arts performances as well as folk games. The Hanoi authorities also piloted a new regulation allowing restaurants and bars in Hoan Kiem district to open until 2am on the last three days of each week instead of midnight as before September 1, in order to meet the increasing demand for entertainment of visitors and locals.
In Ho Chi Minh City, since it was inaugurated in January, Nguyen Van Binh Book Street has become a cultural rendezvous for book lovers while contributing to cultivating the reading habit in society. The book street also set a successful example for the December 19 Book street in Hanoi, which is scheduled to open in April this year.
Musical parties introduced a line-up of international artists
A series of high-quality arts feasts were organized in 2016, contributing to raising the public's aesthetic reception ability. They included a series of arts programs at Hanoi Opera House, which was launched in August by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. The project featured the 'Autumn Symphony' by Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra, 'Biet Doi Bao Den' (Black Panther Squad) play by Vietnam National Drama Theater, extracts from Cheo (traditional opera) plays by Vietnam Cheo Theater, and the 'Dieu Con Mai' (Forever) concert.
International festivals in 2016 attracted many international artists from around the world. The International Experimental Theater Festival in Hanoi in November 12-19 introduced 39 plays put on by eight Vietnamese troupes and eight foreign troupes.
A line-up of more than 100 international singers, dancers and artists shared the stage with their Vietnamese colleagues to storm the capital city of Hanoi at the Moon Soon Festival 2016 on October 21-22. This year's festival, to which legendary German rock band Scorpion was invited, provided an opportunity for Vietnamese music lovers to enjoy its diversity of musical styles.
Under the theme "Music – Convergence and Pervasion", the second Asia-Europe Music Festival in October left good impressions with special concerts, symphonies, chamber music, chorus, opera, and ballet with the participation of nearly 200 artists and musicians from 30 countries and territories.
In addition, the 2016 SEA Pride music festival in June and the 2016 European Music Festival 2016 (EMF 2016) in November treated Vietnamese audiences to a musical party of Indie, Pop, Rock and EDM while showcasing the regions' musical diversity.
Many world musical figures also chose Vietnam as a destination for their performances in 2016, including German rock band Scorpion, disco band Boney M, Thomas Anders of Modern Talking pop band, Chris Norman – former lead singer of the Smokie band, and the legendary Danish band Michael Learns to Rock.
The above programs once again proved that the arts and music in particular has served as a friendly ambassador to link Vietnam and international friends as they created dialogues between different cultures and connected peoples from different countries.
The rise of reality television series and game shows
Reality television series and game shows saw an outbreak in number and dominated the entertainment sector in 2016. Touching upon almost all aspects of daily life, the shows have become most favorite choice of a majority of TV viewers.
In the popular music genre, there are programs such as The Voice, Vietnam Idol, and Sing My Song, while those who love slow-tempo music can tune into Solo with Bolero and Bolero Star. Such programs as Strictly Come Dancing and So You Think You Can Dance can entertain dancing lovers, while those interested in fashion and beauty are offered Miss Vietnam, Vietnam Next Top Model, and The Face modeling contest.
However, the programs faced the common shortcomings regarding aesthetic values as many organizers staged scandals, leaks, and shocking statements in order to raise its competition and draw viewers' curiosity, thus maximizing their profits.
To sum up, the entertainment sector in 2016 was presented in a multicolored picture, in which the bright colors were mostly featured, representing a number of innovations. Many policies and regulations have been issued, bringing about initial results in managing entertainment activities. In 2017, it is hoped the sector will arrange more cheerful cultural programs, meeting the increasing demand of the masses.
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