Back for its second year, the ChubMet Music and Arts Festival kicks off today and will have seven events over two weeks. Five of these will be free to the public, with two shows including a performance by the British star Joss Stone requiring paid entrance. David Stirling, one of the organisers who sits on the festival board, says that the planners have tried to stick to their mission of having at least four out of every five artists from Cambodia. “It’s really important that this country has the music base that it needs,” he says. “The only way to help it grow is to support the artists.” Among the performers will be pop-rap duo Khmeng Khmer, chapey dong veng player Kong Nay, rapper MC Lisha and Stone as headliner.
“It really is a grassroots festival,” Stirling says, adding that outside of sponsorships the funding is provided by Ian Croft of 60 Road Studios. “The people behind it are local business owners – Khmer and Western. If we can drum up more support we’ll do it again.”
With a full slate to choose from, Post Weekend selected some of the highlights.
Opening night - Friday, February 17
The popular Psar Kandal precinct of Siem Reap features a street party open to all. Guest starring is Kak Chanthy with her new project Chanthy Cha Cha, Also attending the opening night will be Laura Mam and Khmeng Khmer, who will be giving away albums to the first 200 people through the gate.
Giant Puppet Parade and Music Stage – Saturday, Februay 18
Following the Puppet Parade, the massively popular Khmeng Khmer, soulful Nikki Nikki and Cambodia’s Master Kong Nay each perform. Debuting at this event will be a new rock band out of Battambang, Phare Girl Band, who’ll be banging out Cambodian tunes from the 1960s, alongside the acrobatics of fellow performers from Phare.
Modern Music inspired by Ancient Sounds – Friday, February 24
Half-Cambodian Rasmee, who grew up in Thailand, performs for the first time in the Kingdom along with Krom Monster and the Kampot Playboys. All the artists use traditional instruments with a modern twist. This one is a ticketed event ($11), but has one of the more intriguing lineups of the festival.
ChubMet Sen Sabay – Saturday, February 25
Lighten things up with pop sensations Adda Angel of Smart Music and Pich Sophea of the Voice Cambodia.
An Evening with Joss Stone – Thursday, March 2
The festival concludes at the newly opened hotel Jaya House River Park with one of the biggest music acts to come to Cambodia in recent years. Stone is a Grammy Award winning artist from the UK and she will be supported by Cambodian tenor Sethisak Khuon.
Full program details are available at chubmet.com.