Austin Community News >> Summer Music Festival Draws Big Vietnamese Stars

6/25/07 Austin, TX- They are marquee headliners around the world, popular Vietnamese entertainers who normally perform only in urban centers with large Asian populations, such as Houston, Dallas and California's Orange County.

On Saturday night, an international showcase of talent appeared at the Round Rock school district Performing Arts Center for the Austin Asian Summer Music Festival.

More than 1,000 people from Austin's burgeoning Vietnamese community came for a night of traditional and pop music, comedy — and even some American tunes.

Organizers say the festival highlights the vibrancy of Austin's Vietnamese community, a population drawn by technology and industrial jobs — and could be the first of many repeat performances.

"We want people to recognize that Austin is growing, and we want people from Dallas and Houston to come here," said Sonny Nguyen, the event's coordinator. "This is the biggest Vietnamese festival ever held in Austin."

The giant variety show featured several Vietnamese-born entertainers popular in the Asian communities of various countries. They included Tran Thai Hoa, Loan Chau and Khanh Ha. Some have careers in Vietnam, and others are immigrants who cater to the immigrant populations of the United States.

Kinh Nguyen drove to Austin from San Antonio to see Ha perform.

"She's one of the most famous singers in Vietnam," Nguyen said.

Andy Ngo said he would like to see more Vietnamese singers come to Austin.

"Austin doesn't get singers like these often," Ngo said. "I think they should try and bring more entertainment."

The festival's master of ceremonies, Nguyen Ngoc Ngan, a Toronto-based writer who hosts music shows across the world, said he was impressed by Austin's Asian communities when he visited for the first time this weekend.

He said Vietnamese concerts often happen once a month or more in cities such as Houston.

"Austin is such a peaceful city compared to some of the places we visit, like Las Vegas," Ngan said. "This morning I took a walk in Chinatown and ate breakfast. The Vietnamese community's businesses here are very good, and the people are very nice."

(Contributed by Austin American Statesman)