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Hua Hin Jazz Festival 2006

hua hin jazz festival 2005

The 5th annual Hua Hin Jazz Festival was held on the weekend of June 2-4, the most successful yet and marking the festival’s maturation into a truly international event. Three nights of top-notch Thai and world jazz talent appeared on two full-size beach stages, plus the ever-popular Beer Garden stage.

This year saw significant innovations that lifted the show above the level of previous years. First, and most importantly, the music program for the first time was truly international and of a consistently high level, with world-class acts from Europe, US, and Cuba balanced by very strong sets from the growing community of Thai jazz and jazz-pop artists. Hitman Records deserves particular credit here, bringing no less than four of their top-flight acts from Europe. Mark Bolam of Enlightened Planet also is to be thanked from bringing Bill Bruford and his incredible Earthworks ensemble from Britain.

Another very noticeable change from last year was the switch to two stages at the beach (plus the Beer Garden stage, which for some reason is never mentioned in the programs) and the elimination of the stage at Pone Ginpetch park. The concentration of stages at the beach generally worked well, although some of the disadvantages of a music event at the beach (especially at high tide!) were evident. It was handy to be able to move from one stage to the other without a trip into town, and the separation between the Hilton and Sofitel stages was sufficient to avoid interference. Also for the first time, truly bi-lingual MCs were provided at each stage, allowing both Thai and foreign audience to enjoy the show.

If you attended previous Jazz Festivals here, you just had to appreciate the organizer’s attention to toilet facilities. Although there was 5-baht charge, for the first time there were enough portable stalls in strategic locations to serve the need. Only at the busiest times did one have to wait at all, and the crews generally did a good job keeping up with the challenge of keeping these reasonably fresh.

From the standpoint of a musician/jazz-lover, the biggest and best change to the festival this year was the inclusion of day-time workshops conducted at the Hilton Hotel by several of the international artists, with translation and facilitation by some of Thailand’s most prominent jazz educators and musicians. These indoor events provided opportunities to hear these outstanding musicians in a more intimate setting, and to interact directly with them, as well as to meet folks in the Thai jazz community. Attendance at the workshops was quite good, and we can hope that the festival organizers will see fit to expand in years to come.

On the negative side, as occurred last year, Saturday’s crowds overwhelmed the space and facilities, to the point that it became difficult to enjoy the show. The situation was made worse by a high tide that squeezed the usable area down to a tiny strip, particularly at the Hilton Stage. Under these conditions, the beach-venue-only arrangement became something of a liability. Friday and Sunday, though, were no problem.

The Hua Hin Jazz Festival seems to be marching from success to success, and is getting to be known even outside Thailand. We can hope that the promoters and organizers will be able to continue to enhance the festival, perhaps expanding the venues, the number of days, or both, to handle growth in attendance.
With thanks to Gary Hall for the article

Hua Hin Jazz Festival 2006 lineup:

Sofitel Beachfront Stage
June 02,2006 June 03,2006 June 04,2006
16.45 - 17.45 Opening DJ Live DJ Live
18.00 - 19.00 Mansri Young Jazz Talent Young Jazz Talent
19.15 - 20.15 Lipta vs Rudklao JRP Little Big Band Doo-Baa-Doo
20.30 - 21.30 Bill Bruford Proad Tanapat Crescendo
21.45 - 22.45 Ben Besiakov Ibrahim Electric
23.00 - 24.00 Michael Blake

Hilton Beachfront Stage
June 02,2006 June 03,2006 June 04,2006
18.15 - 19.15 DJ Live DJ Live DJ Live
19.30 - 20.30 Young Jazz Talent Bamboo Bar Quintet Young Jazz Talent
20.45 - 21.45 Denny & Friends T-Bone Malene Mortensen
22.00 - 23.00 Koh Mr. Saxman Mikkel Nodso
23.15 - 24.15 Lazaro Valdes

Images from Hua Hin Jazz Festival 2006
[ Photos are copyright HHAD ]
Saturday June 3rd
Sunday June 4th

Last year the event was a huge success drawing thousands of visitors to Hua Hin over the weekend. Read more here: Hua Hin Jazz Festival 2005 and Hua Hin Jazz Festival 2004




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