Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bonn Phum 2018: ‘Village festival’ back with focus on music and tech

Bonn Phum 2018: ‘Village festival’ back with focus on music and tech

A performance during the 2017 Bonn Phum festival, which will have three days of festivities this year, beginning on Friday. The festival is a celebration of both innovation and traditional arts that has grown in popularity over five years. Supplied/Staxc
A performance during the 2017 Bonn Phum festival, which will have three days of festivities this year, beginning on Friday. The festival is a celebration of both innovation and traditional arts that has grown in popularity over five years. Supplied/Staxc

Bonn Phum 2018: ‘Village festival’ back with focus on music and tech

After attracting an estimated 30,000 visitors last year, the Bonn Phum festival is back for its fifth annual Khmer New Year celebration of traditional arts and youthful creativity.

Bonn Phum, or “village festival”, will this year be held at Kok Ampil pagoda, which is located on the new Hun Sen Boulevard.

The three-day festival begins Friday just after dawn with a Buddhist ceremony. From 9am onwards, it’s a rowdier scene, with food stalls, traditional New Year games, dances and other activities.

At this year’s festival will be an “art house” where performers will be taking the stage. There will be a headlining performance each night beginning at 7pm, with the first show Lakhon Yike – or Khmer spoken theatre – the second classical dance, and a sbek thom, or shadow puppet, performance on Sunday.

Rithy Lomorpich, Bonn Phum festival director, said this year’s main focus is on music and on creative technology. To celebrate the fifth anniversary, the Bonn Phum collective will be releasing an album of songs that blends traditional Cambodian and modern music, which will be debuted on the second day of the festival.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
People play a traditional Khmer New Year game at the Bonn Phum festival in 2017. Supplied/BOrey VEn

According to Lomorpich, each year the organising team tries to combine the traditional arts with new, creative ideas, exploring different mediums like music, dance, film and, this year, technology.

“We think the art should not be alone, there should a collaboration with something more,” Lomorpich said.

The festival director described the “black box” as one area inside the pagoda where people can buy pay 5000 riel ($1.25) and experience things like video games and quizzes related to arts and technology.

“With this black box, it will give chance to the audience to experience arts through technology,” she said. In future editions, she hopes to further integrate tech and the arts “because it could help the younger generation to have more interest in the culture”.

Another special activity for Bonn Phum this year is the Smart Mega Concert on the Saturday – the second day of the festival. The show will feature contemporary artists performing traditional songs followed by sets of their own original songs. In the line-up is Small World Small Band, with Lomorpich’s sister Lomorkesor as lead singer; pop-rap stars Kmeng Khmer; Cambodian-American Laura Mam, who has spearheaded the “original” pop music movement; artist Oun and pop stars Adda and Chet Kanhchna.

The arts and music should amply satisfy one’s spirit, but if you’re looking to fill your stomach there’s no paucity of options with some 170 food stalls available at the festival.

“Mostly, there will be typical Cambodian foods, the type of village cuisine,” Lomorpich said.

Continuing in the tradition of past festivals, shared transportation will be provided with buses arranged at the Olympic stadium to the venue.

Ridesharing behemoth Grab is also collaborating with Bonn Phum, providing a 50 percent discount to rides with the destination of Bonn Phum.

Bonn Phum will take place at Kok Ampil Pagoda, Friday through Sunday, from 6am to 10pm. Entry is free.

MOST VIEWED

  • Government denies claims former Thai PM Yingluck issued Cambodian passport

    Government officials on Thursday denied claims that a Cambodian passport was issued to former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who reportedly used it to register a company in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong-based English language South China Morning Post (SCMP) on Wednesday reported Hong Kong

  • Diplomatic passports issued to foreigners to be annulled

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will move to annul diplomatic passports issued to those not born in Cambodia. Analysts say the move may be in relation to reports that former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra used a Cambodian passport to register as

  • Hun Sen warns Irish MP of EBA ‘mistake’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday told former Irish premier Enda Kenny, still a member of the EU nation’s parliament, that the 28-nation bloc should not make a “third mistake” regarding Cambodia by using the preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement to “take 16 million

  • The hairy little heroes saving many lives in rural Cambodia

    IN RURAL Siem Reap province, rats dare to tread where no person will, as these hairy little heroes place their lives on the line each day for the good of the local community. The rodents are the most important members of a special team, leading