By Naida Dizdarevic
Siem Reap, Cambodia
The creative scene in Siem Reap has been developing at a rapid rate in recent years. Where arts & music was once a thing of the past, it is now becoming more and more prevalent in modern Cambodian society. This expression of creativity enhanced the need for a festival to showcase and celebrate the reemergence of formerly lost talents that the Cambodian people have. The ChubMet Music and Art Festival began with an opening street party on 17th February, 2017 where one could wander the popular Kandal Village locale and find street performances by festival partner Phare – The Cambodian Circus; drop into the pop up cinema offered by The Little Red Fox Espresso and watch an intriguing documentary on the prevalence of music in Cambodia; or journey on, to the main stage, and watch the variety of live music performances throughout the evening.
As part of the festival, the long-standing Giant Puppet Parade celebrated its 10 year anniversary with a wonderful parade through the streets of Siem Reap, concluding with a free concert in the Royal Gardens. Performers on this momentous occasion included Kong Nay– known locally as the Ray Charles of Cambodia & KmengKhmer– Cambodia’s hottest boy band.
The 2 week festival hosted multiple crowd-drawing events including Battle of the Bands, Urban Art & Hip Hop Night and a magical performance of Modern Music & Ancient Sounds at FCC Angkor. The festival concluded on 2nd March with a key performance by Grammy Award winner Joss Stone at Jaya House River Park. This performance brought an international contingent to the festival and was enjoyed by a fantastic combination of Cambodian and Western attendees, coming together for one last evening.
Journeys Within was proud to be nominated as the official travel partner of the ChubMet Music & Art Festival and have the opportunity to promote this unique event to an international audience. The Cambodian team had the pleasure of guiding Joss Stone and her team around a few of Siem Reap’s most special sites during their stay. Head Guide, Sina & Assistant Regional Director, Narla both loved spending time with Joss, saying that she was a truly special person.
2017 was the second year that Siem Reap has hosted the ChubMet Music & Art Festival. We all look forward to the wonderful showcase the 2018 festival will surely offer and Journeys Within looks forward to being involved with the organization of this fantastic event again next year.