Always in fashion: Models show off ao dai, the Vietnamese traditional dress. The show, which was among various cultural events taking place during the Hue Festival, featured more than 1,000 creations by different Vietnamese designers. — VNA/VNS Photo Nhat Anh
THUA THIEN-HUE — The Hue Festival, a themed Cultural Heritage activity with Integration and Development, closed yesterday night, with international friends from all over the world saying they were deeply moved by the event.
"This is one of the best times I've had in Viet Nam," said Mexican flamenco guitarist Paco Renteria. "I feel a sweet connection between my heart and Vietnamese hearts."
"The people are so beautiful," he said. "It's not only on stage but also at the hotel and in the streets. Everywhere they say hello to me."
US pianist Carol Williams said: "I love the audience here; who else will come out in the rain to see us perform like they did?"
"We love the city too, we really do," she said. "It's wonderful for us to be here to experience this way of life."
Gustav Rasmussen, leader of the prestigious funk band MI22 from Denmark, had this to say: "It was incredible! We could even see the temples from the stages."
The artists were just some of many who felt a profound happiness, as during the nine-day festival they shared their time with locals and tourists during a variety of festivities in both traditional and modern genres.
Major traditional spectacles included the Imperial Night, Voyage to Reclaim the Country's Land and Legends of the Huong (Perfume) River, in addition to Russian ballets, Indian ritual dances, performances with bold tropical scents from the Caribbean Pearl and many other shows.
Ngo Hoa, vice chairman of the Thua Thien-Hue Province People's Committee, announced that the festival was a brilliant success, and had seen a true harmonisation of traditional and modern factors.
"Different cultures converged during the festival with their own nuances, but in the end they all demonstrated the spirit of exchanges, solidarity, integration and development," said Hoa.
"For the past 10 years, the festival has become a link between the past, the present and the future of the city," said Nguyen Duy Hien, deputy head of the Hue Festival organising board. "It has also helped integrate the city with other parts of the nation, and the world."
This year 70 arts troupes from nearly 30 countries brought hundreds of unique art programmes to the festival. Over 6,500 artists, actors and actresses, along with around 3 million people, attended the event through community and fringe activities.
More than 500 journalists from 80 media and press agencies were also present at the event, and the city hosted roughly 120,400 domestic and nearly 28,600 foreign tourists.
Hoa expressed his gratitude to foreign embassies and artists who helped diversify the festivities during the event. He also gave a special thanks to the French partners who had been with the Hue Festival since the first event.
"It's time to say good-bye but what the festival has brought to us will never fade away," Hoa said. "This is motivation for the province to preserve and promote the country's cultural and artistic values, along with the tourism industry and socio-economic development."
The closing ceremony yesterday was highlighted by an ode to the poetic beauty of the Huong River and a friendly and peaceful Viet Nam. Flower garlands, coloured lanterns and fireworks blended into the night sky as a farewell until the 2012 rendezvous.
"I don't want to come here just one time; I want to come back, maybe in the next six to twelve months," said Paco. "I need more connections like the beautiful connections I have had." — VNS