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Nổ Cái Bùm Art Festival will be held from 4th July to 9th July 2020, taking place in a range of art spaces throughout Hue City in Central Vietnam. It is possibly the biggest arts event held in the former imperial capital. Over 50 artists from across Vietnam will contribute to the independent festival with workshops, open studios, artist talks and live performances. All events will have a translator available so there is no need for non-Vietnamese speakers to be intimidated out of visiting. Nổ Cái Bùm festival is a collaborative event by Modo bar, Nest Studio and the Symbioses project.

no cai bum hue grit tour
6. Nguyễn An, Food-1, 2019, oil painting on carton paper and plastic box. Photo_ Nguyễn AnJPG

Donation-Based Event. No Tickets Needed!

As the Nổ Cái Bùm festival is an independent event, organisers are asking for donations from generous patrons and attendees rather than charging tickets. Money raised will go towards finance resources for the organisation of the festival. Attendees can donate during the event or sent to the Vietnamese bank account at the bottom of this page.
Details of the Nổ Cái Bùm schedule can be found further down this page.

Grassroots Festival and the Quest for Clarity

Nổ Cái Bùm festival is for artists and art admirers to congregate over a 6-day period on a grassroots level. With the dramatic twists of 2020, a lot of festivals have been cancelled this year. Nổ Cái Bùm has survived the festival cull thanks to its minimal financial requirements and absence of third-party commercial ties. We spoke to Lê Thiên Bảo of Symbiosis project who is one of the Nổ Cái Bùm co-organisers.

‘The first priority is the artist and then the audience. When the artists have the freedom to be creative, then the audience will benefit more from it.’

Nam Thành Trung-The-Faces-1-2019-lacquer-paint. -Photo_-Nam-Thành-Trung.jpg


For the organisers of Nổ Cái Bùm, the audience’s attendance is superior to their financial worth. One of the festival’s aims is to bring the audience to new understandings of art through varied engagements. A DIY festival gives attendees honest encounters with arts and artists with the pedestal firmly removed.

There is a subtext to the festival revolving around the Hue Art University. Recent years have seen enrolment rates for art courses drop significantly. With operative costs not being met, the university’s board decided that all art courses will cease from 2021.

‘There is one arts university in central Vietnam and it’s struggling.’ Sighs Bảo.

‘The Hue University – College of Arts terminated contracts with 21 art professors last year (2019). The number of students dropped. Even when the students graduate from the Art school, they usually go to Hanoi or Saigon to be more engaged with the art community. It’s hard for them to make a living in Hue when the scene is not strong enough, doesn’t have enough galleries and collectors. So if artists cannot make money living in Hue, they cannot afford a studio and have to move. If the environment surrounding the younger generation lacks resources, they are unable to develop.’

the nest studio
Nest Studio, one of the many Hue art spaces a part of Nổ Cái Bùm


Generally, Vietnamese familial ideologies value more financially lucrative occupations for their children. Art as a career are stigmatised as self-indulgent and high risk. Although Hue Art University has been applauded for modernizing its syllabuses with mixed-media courses, not enough has been done to save the fate of the university and the closure of courses will deal a significant blow to the living culture of Hue.

‘Of course,  the festival is not arranged purely for the purpose of saving the Arts University but it is a significant subplot to the event. The Grassroots premise of the event makes it a kinesthetic experience for all attendees to engage with art on a personal level, regardless of their preconceptions or prior experience, and reevaluate (or evaluate) what art is.’

The call for participants went out across Vietnam at the beginning of the year and submissions ranged from contemporary dance choreographers to undergraduate illustrators. But focus wasn’t on bringing the best names in the Vietnam art scene to Hue for a week, rather bringing various parts of an art scene, fragmented by Vietnam’s length of over 2000 kilometres, closer together.

So, a lot of serious talk. But will there be fun?

You bet.

Hue Grit Festival Picks

Art Tour By Electric Car (Day 1 – 04/07/2020)

electric car tour

Meeting Point: Then Cafe from 14:30

Nổ Cái Bùm’s first event will take guests around some of the festival’s key locations including many art spaces around Hue. Guests without health issues or do not have access to transport can apply for a seat on the electrical car at the meeting spot but it is heavily encouraged to use your own transport. If you need to rent a motorbike, contact here.

Facebook Event Page

Open Studios and Panel Discussion at Hue Arts University (Day 3 – 06/07/2020)

Lecturers open their classrooms up for attendees to discuss and learn about their work and their students. This will be followed with a panel discussion on the topic ‘What is What?’ featuring Nguyễn Như Huy (curator and writer), Đỗ Kỳ Huy (artist and lecturer), Nguyễn Trinh Thi (filmmaker) and Nguyễn Anh Cường (architect).

Experimental Workshop with Truc Chi Founder Pham Hai Bang (Day 4 – 07/07/2020)

ngo cai bum hue art

Truc Chi paper experience workshop with artist Phan Hải Bằng. Photo_ Trúc Chỉ

Truc chi (bamboo paper) is one Hue’s most celebrated local art forms. The work of Phan Hải Bằng and his company can often be found in pagodas, homes and commercial spaces across Hue and further afield. Phan Hải Bằng will be running an experimental workshop for attendees at his workshop in Kim Long district.

Evening of Contemporary Dance with X Project (Day 3-06/07/2020)

The actors practicing the Project X dance, choreographed by Ngo Thanh Phuong. Photo_ Lam Thuan Hieu


Contemporary Dance with X Project and choreographer Ngo Thanh Phuong from Hoi An and Danang respectively. After their performance, the group will be taking questions from the audience.

Full Event Schedule for Nổ Cái Bùm

Event schedules are subject to change. Keep up to date by checking the Nổ Cái Bùm facebook page. The festival will include a free print-out map for all attendees that can be picked up from any of the events or at Modo bar.

Ngo Cai Bum Hue art
Poster for Nổ Cái Bùm festival

Day 1 (Saturday 4th July)

Art Tour and Opening Party
Nổ Cái Bùm will begin with a whistle stop tour of various art spaces of Hue and the prestigious Hue Fine Arts University. The tour will include an introduction to each space and their connection to Hue’s art scene. After the art tour, there will be an opening party at the Diem Phung Thi Museum on Le Loi Street.

(14:30-17:30) Art tour by Electrical Car

Begins at Then Cafe
Maps of tour available at Modo for those who prefer to explore off the tour.
Facebook event page

(19:00) Opening party of Nổ Cái Bùm Festival
Diem Phung Thi Museum

Lan Anh Le, excerpt of work _Âm_, 2019, video art. Photo_ Lan Anh Le.


Day 2 (Sunday 5th July)

Experimental Performance Art
The second day of the festival will include live performances from the Phu Luc Collective at Nest Studio and a second string of performances by Chung Nguyễn and Đặng Thuỳ Anh.


(16:00 – 17:30) Experimental performances at Nest studio -.
Performances from Phụ Lục collective, Flinh, Quốc Thành & Phan Đông Thái, Hải Duy & Lem Trang Nguyen and Nguyễn Đình Phương.
Address: 50 Nguyễn Chí Diểu, Thuận Thành, Huế

(18:30 – 20:00) Experimental performances at Then Cafe
Performances from: Chung Nguyễn and Đặng Thuỳ Anh.
Address: 63 Lê Trung Định, Thuận Lộc, Huế

Hoàng Anh, _Vô Đề, 2020, mixed media. Photo_ Hoàng Anh


Day 3 (Monday 6th July)

University of Hue Open Day and Contemporary Dance Performances
Hue Arts University will be opening its doors for the days where visitors can speak to lecturers and discuss their works and those of the students. There will also be a panel discussion led by lecturers at the university focussing on art and philosophy.

The evening will include contemporary dance performances by X Project, followed by a talk with choreographer Ngô Thanh Phương and the performers.

Open Studios at Hue Arts University
(14:00 – 15:00) – Open studios of all lecturers of the Hue Arts University
(15:15 – 17:45) – Panel discussion “What is What?”
Host: Nguyễn Như Huy
Participants: Đỗ Kỳ Huy, Nguyễn Trinh Thi and Nguyễn Anh Cường
Address: 10 Tô Ngọc Vân, Thuận Thành, Huế

(18:15 – 19:00) – Contemporary Dance: X Project at University of Arts
(19:00 – 19:45) – Art talk with the choreographer Ngô Thanh Phương and X Project
Address: 10 Tô Ngọc Vân, Thuận Thành, Huế

Nhat Ton, The Wall, 2020, synthetic materials. Ảnh_ Nhật Tôn


Day 4 (Tuesday 7th July)

Truc Chi Experimental workshop, talk with filmmaker Nguyen Trinh Thi and open studio of Hue artist Nguyễn Văn Hè.
Day 4 will begin with a visit to the studio of Truc Chi founder Phan Hải Bằng for an experimental workshop with the bamboo paper that has made his company nationally famous. Film Director Nguyen Trinh Thi will carry the festival forward with an artist talk about her experimental films. Hue artist Nguyen Van He will also open his studio and discuss his work with visitors in the evening.

(13:00 – 15:00) Trúc Chỉ experiment workshop
Host: Phan Hải Bằng
Address: Phan Hải Bằng’s studio, #1 kiệt 80 Nguyễn Hoàng, Kim Long, Huế


Nguyen Trinh Thi, still from artwork _Landscape 1_, 2013, video art. Image_ Nguyen Trinh Thi


(15:30 – 17:30) Talk with film director Nguyen Trinh Thi.
Host: Lê Thiên Bảo, Trương Thiện
Address: Gallery Năm Mùa, 86 Trần Huy Liệu, Phú Hòa, Huế

(18:00 – 20:00) Open studio of artist Nguyễn Văn Hè
Address: Nguyễn Văn Hè studio Thôn Kim Sơn, xã Thủy Bằng, huyện Hương Thủy, Huế


Day 5 (Wednesday 8th July)

Tuesday will begin with open studios of Hue artist Nguyễn Hoá who works with sculpture and abstract art. Later in the afternoon, another open studio with artists the Le Brothers in the evening.
(10:00 – 14:00) Open studio of artist Nguyễn Hoá
Address: 37/1 Hoa Lư, KQH Hương Sơ, Huế

(17:30 – 20:00) Open studio of New Space Arts Foundation with Le Brothers
Address: Nhà số 9 xóm 3, thôn Lại Thế, Phú Thượng, Phú Vang, Hương Trà, Huế


Day 6 (Thursday 9th July)

Closed meeting and discussion between artists, organizers and speakers contributing to the festival.


All updates and information for the Nổ Cái Bùm event can be found on their facebook page.

Artist Nguyễn Đức Đạt is drawing an event map for No Cai Bum


Account for Donations

Donations can be made during the event or sent to the Vietnamese bank account below:
Account name: Nguyen Thi Thanh Mai
Account number: 19035636231011
Bank: Techcombank Huế

Additional Info for Hue

If you’re visiting Hue for the festival, here are some additional places to check out and things to do.

Places of interest

Le Ba Dang Museum            
Things to do                           
Hue Graffiti Wall                  
Abandoned Waterpark        

Food and Drinks

Hue foods                               
Places to drink in Hue         
Coffee shops                          
Lunch at Cafe Nha                
Mi Op la Breakfast                
Vegetarian restaurants        

Vietnam art tour


Places to Stay

Sahi Homestay                  
Homestay list                    

Motorbike Rental        

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