Epizode offers a party with a conscience

People go out dancing for all sorts of reasons, but probably the single biggest draw to the tiles is a chance to escape.

Epizode offers a party with a conscience
SUN DOWN, SOUND UP: Sunset DJ sets are always eagerly anticipated at the festival each day. Photo courtesy of the organisers


Whether it’s from the stresses of the working week, the pain of a failed romance or despair at prevailing political sentiment (and there’s a lot of that to go around these days), we all have our reasons for throwing off all our cares and busting a move, if only for a few hours.

So Epizode festival, an 11-day long dance music extravaganza jam-packed with some of the best DJs on the planet on the white sands of a beautiful beach, may seem like just another chance to forget it all and party until you forget what ails you, or even your own name.

And it may well be for some revellers, but in its fourth year now, the people behind Epizode are working to ensure their party means that much more.

More than a party

Running from December 27 this year until January 7, 2020, the music and arts festival is returning for its fourth consecutive year to Phu Quoc Island in southern Vietnam’s Kien Giang Province.

Each year, Epizode brings some of the world’s top DJs to Vietnam, and this edition is no exception, with the likes of British Hessle Audio co-founder Ben UFO, Chilean-German groove master Ricardo Villalobos and Italian composer and multi-instrumentalist Giorgia Angiuli, to name but three of the more than 100 performers.

On top of that some of the region’s top tastemakers and DJs will also perform, ensuring there’s ample opportunity for dancing, imbibing and pure, unadulterated end-of-year hedonism for the thousands of attendees, whether they be Western or some of the ravers from across Southeast Asia and indeed the continent at large who will make the trip to Sunset Sonata Beach Club.

Natasha Rogal, Epizode’s CEO whose background is in Russian and international media, is the woman largely responsible for that opportunity to party, but she’s also conscious of bringing more than a good knees-up to Phu Quoc.

Rogal told Việt Nam News that while the festival may be mostly Western-run and that brings clear differences in mentality between Epizode and local partners, the organisers are conscious of the importance of bringing true value to the local community and not just parachuting in for the festival.

“When you come to the same market for the 10th time and greet sellers as good friends, the situation transforms.

“For me at the moment, this is an extremely important and energy-consuming process that has already shown its results.

“But this is connected not only with the desire to optimise costs - it is extremely important for me to be a significant event in the life of the country, in that part of life that is responsible for tourism and entertainment.

“It is important to work with local partners, to attract local people to work at the festival,” she said.

Rogal and co have put their money where their mouth is and recently announced Epizode’s eco partners, comprising four Vietnam-based groups that work to protect the environment.

The collaborations aim to reduce the festival’s ecological impact on Phu Quoc, a welcome initiative after the first edition attracted criticism for a mass balloon launch in 2016.

Plastic water bottles may litter the ground at most large-scale raves, but not at Epizode this year, thanks to the aluminum water cans supplied by beWater, a firm committed to fully managing the entire life cycle of their cans.

In addition, Zero Waste Saigon will supply grass straws to replace their plastic counterparts, the tableware used at the food court decomposes in 45 days provided by HCM City-based company Green Domino Eco Solutions, and two beach clean-ups will be held with Phu Quoc Clean & Green, one of which has already taken place on December 15 with festival volunteers.

These commendable efforts, alongside a cup sharing programme, can help ravers party relatively guilt free, but Rogal understands the most important element to create an unforgettable festival.
“I see a lot of potential in Epizode, it's a whole eco-system, in which a whole bunch of opportunities are growing. But the centre is, without a doubt, music.”

 
Epizode offers a party with a conscience
RISE: Levi Oi performs at the store opening of Daphale Studios in HCM City. Photo Tuan Tran


Community

If the centre of the festival is music, then DJs are central to the music, and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone more central to HCM City’s underground dance music scene than Levi Oi.
Just a year ago though, she had just quit her corporate job, moved to HCM City from Germany, and was representing techno.vn at Epizode, not performing at the festival.

To go from attending the festival as a representative of the local underground music scene one year and performing the next speaks to Epizode’s mission to grow a community in Vietnam, and attending the festival coupled with a collaborative project with Israeli producers Red Axes inspired Levi to learn to DJ, which she did alongside organising events in HCM City over the past year.
“I was quite open to any new experience and also the project with Red Axes inspired me, it just pushed me more in the music direction,” she told Việt Nam News.

Just a few months ago she had her first big gig at HCM City club Bam Bam, and then contacted Epizode to suggest other Vietnamese DJs they could book for the festival to increase local representation.

“I just wanted to help them a bit because I like the festival and I wanted to connect Epizode with the city because most of the people go from here as well and a lot of people in Bam Bam are Vietnamese, so to get a bigger Vietnamese crowd at the festival.

“For me it’s about the scene and about the community, it’s not about anything else.”

Unlike larger, more corporate festivals that might brush off such a request, Epizode worked with Levi to organise a pre-party in HCM City and then gave her a slot on the bill.

While some might rest on their laurels after achieving so much in a new field in the space of just a year, Levi plans to take the opportunities she’s earned and run with them.

“From my first gig in a couple months to Epizode, I see it as a sign for myself to take it seriously. It can’t be any more obvious that this was a path made for me. It’s like someone’s holding a big sign saying ‘Girl don’t throw it away, this doesn’t happen every day!’”

When asked if that means festivals like Epizode could one day be headlined by Vietnamese DJs, she was emphatic about her determination to grow the local scene.
“Yeah, I will make sure that will happen.”

Lots on offer

With an expanded array of activities apart from music, a larger festival site and a commitment to being as eco-friendly as possible, there’s plenty to be excited about at this year’s Epizode, never mind the world-class line-up of DJs.

So whether you want to see 2019 off with a bang, zone out and recharge your batteries in beautiful Phu Quoc or be part of an exciting new musical movement in Vietnam, Epizode has it on offer, all the while showing the world that Việt Nam and Southeast Asia have more to offer tourists than many may realise.

“I feel that Epizode is kind of a bridge between East and West that wasn’t there before and so we have a unique opportunity to show how beautiful this country is,” said Rogal. VNS

Peter Cowan

Epizode offers more than a world-class party

Epizode offers more than a world-class party

Epizode returns to Vietnam in just a few weeks, bringing 11 straight days of world-class dance music to the beaches of Phu Quoc Island.

Epizode pre-party in Hanoi this weekend

Epizode pre-party in Hanoi this weekend

Southeast Asia’s top dance music festival kicks off in less than a month, and Hanoi is getting a taste of the action.

Southeast Asia’s top dance music festival announces final lineup, showcases

Southeast Asia’s top dance music festival announces final lineup, showcases

The full lineup for Southeast Asia’s top dance music festival has been released, and ravers are in for a treat.

 
 

Other News

.
Coronavirus: China's cinemas start to reopen after shutdowns
Coronavirus: China's cinemas start to reopen after shutdowns
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  20/07/2020 

The country is the second largest film market in the world after the US, with a box office of $9.2bn in 2019.

Man captures Saigon memories in palm-sized miniatures
Man captures Saigon memories in palm-sized miniatures
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  20/07/2020 

A Vietnamese man has touched the hearts of those who love Saigon - the former name of HCM City - by his wooden miniatures facsimileing the city in his memories. Join us to contemplate the fascinating artworks.

Arts exhibition connects Vietnamese painters nationwide
Arts exhibition connects Vietnamese painters nationwide
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  19/07/2020 

A total of 60 paintings created by 11 members of an arts club based across the country have gone on show at the Fine Arts Museum in Ho Chi Minh City.

'Sound of Hope' resounds from ambassadors of music
'Sound of Hope' resounds from ambassadors of music
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  19/07/2020 

The Hanoi Old Quarter Management Board recently came together with the Vietnamese Dinh Lang Club to host a special arts programme featuring visually-impaired singers.

HCM City in urgent need of public art space
HCM City in urgent need of public art space
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  20/07/2020 

Installation of art in public places in Vietnam is essential to the development of smart cities and their cultural life, Ho Chi Minh City’s artists and cultural experts have said.

Vietnamese movie to be screened at Locarno Film Festival
Vietnamese movie to be screened at Locarno Film Festival
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  20/07/2020 

The Unseen River directed by Pham Ngoc Lan will be internationally premiered at the Pardi di domani shorts competition of the Locarno Film Festival which will be held from August 5-15.

Vietnamese movie kicks off ASEAN Film Week 2020
Vietnamese movie kicks off ASEAN Film Week 2020
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  19/07/2020 

The movie “Hanh phuc cua me” (The Happiness of a Mother) was screened right after the opening of the ASEAN Film Week 2020 in Hanoi on July 18.

Vietnam's lacquer villages struggle to survive
Vietnam's lacquer villages struggle to survive
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  19/07/2020 

Truong Quan Tinh, who has 40 years of experience in making lacquerware, is worried about the decline of Tuong Binh Hiep Village in Thu Dau Mot City in the southern province of Binh Duong.

Hanoi outlying road turned into artwork
Hanoi outlying road turned into artwork
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  19/07/2020 

A road in Hanoi’s suburbs has had a facelift with colourful new murals.

Hanoi – endless inspiration for poets
Hanoi – endless inspiration for poets
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  19/07/2020 

Poems about Hanoi resist the flow of time, preserving the ancient values from a millennium ago and promoting contemporary features. Hanoi has always been an endless inspiration for poets.

Vietnam presses ahead with preparation for SEA Games 31
Vietnam presses ahead with preparation for SEA Games 31
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  18/07/2020 

The Vietnam Sports Administration (VSA) is pressing ahead with preparations for the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31) and the 11th ASEAN Para Games to be hosted by Vietnam in 2021.

Over 100 paragliders compete in national tournament
Over 100 paragliders compete in national tournament
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  18/07/2020 

More than 100 paragliders from 10 clubs nationwide have gathered at a national competition that kicked off in the central coastal city of Da Nang on July 18.

Da Lat seeks 'urban heritage site' status
Da Lat seeks 'urban heritage site' status
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  17/07/2020 

Da Lat City "has what it takes" to become an urban heritage site of the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, experts have said.

VN famous fashion designer introduces eye-catching collection
VN famous fashion designer introduces eye-catching collection
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  17/07/2020 

Fashion designer Hoang Hai will introduce his latest collection called Thương (Love) in HCM City this weekend.  

Hanoi International Film Festival postponed until next year
Hanoi International Film Festival postponed until next year
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  18/07/2020 

The sixth Hanoi International Film Festival (HANIFF VI), originally scheduled for this November, has been postponed until next year due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Ample entertainment program at Hanoi Book Street from July 18
Ample entertainment program at Hanoi Book Street from July 18
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  17/07/2020 

Hanoi Book Street is a favorite destination for bookworms, especially the children, when summer comes.

VN national football team remains pick of the bunch in Southeast Asia
VN national football team remains pick of the bunch in Southeast Asia
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  17/07/2020 

The Vietnamese men’s national football team have maintained their position as Southeast Asia’s strongest team, according to the recently-released July global rankings by FIFA.

Miss Universe Vietnam 2017 H'Hen Nie honoured as ‘Pride of ASEAN’
Miss Universe Vietnam 2017 H'Hen Nie honoured as ‘Pride of ASEAN’
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  17/07/2020 

The official ASEAN fan page has posted an image of H’Hen Nie, a Top 5 finisher at Miss Universe 2018, honouring her as the ‘Pride of ASEAN’.

FIFA bans 11 Vietnamese players for match-fixing
FIFA bans 11 Vietnamese players for match-fixing
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  17/07/2020 

FIFA has banned eleven players of Dong Thap Football Club for match-fixing during the national U21 tournament.

Johnny Depp was never violent to me, says ex-partner Winona Ryder
Johnny Depp was never violent to me, says ex-partner Winona Ryder
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  17/07/2020 

Johnny Depp's ex-fiancee says it is "impossible to believe" claims from Amber Heard that he was violent.

 
 
 
Leave your comment on an article

OR QUICK LOGIN