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Critics take aim at Hue Festival

Update: July, 26/2014 - 09:51
The stage cost US$3.3 million for its installation and decoration was deinstalled right after the festival end in April. — VNS Photo Phuoc Buu
THUA THIEN-HUE  (VNS) — Officials in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue say the biennial Hue Festival is too expensive to hold every two years.

Held in the former royal capital city of Hue, the event spotlights local and international artists. However, officials complain that the local budget cannot fund such an extravagant event and that the timeframe is too short to make adequate preparations.

Voters recently demanded that the local People's Council reconsider the biennial organisation of the festival, saying that it was a waste of investment. Many infrastructure built for the festival remained unused after just one event, including stages for opening ceremonies and ao dai performance shows, which cost billions of dong.

Phan Tien Dung, director of the local Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said at a recent meeting to review last April's festival that the festival should be held every three or four years, rather than biennially. He was supported by Phan Thanh Hai, director of the Hue Monuments Conservation Centre, who added that festival audiences made the city's historic monuments too crowded.

Dung initiated a committee that will bring together organisers and local authorities to talk about professionalism, preservation of local culture and using infrastructure effectively.

The Hue Festival 2014 drew 2.4 million attendees, an increase of 23 per cent over 2012. However, organisers and local authorities never published investment or revenue figures, leading to speculations that they suffered losses. — VNS

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