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At Picniq, a Series of Sunset Soirées for Kindred Music Enthusiasts

Picniq, a new series of monthly electronic music events, has become a musical banquet rarely seen amid Saigon. This is where one can treat their eyes to the city’s most breathtaking sunsets while giving in to the flow of electronic tracks carefully curated by some of the most discerning ears of the scene.

Electronic music aficionados around the world and even in Vietnam are no stranger to raves. To discuss this particular genre of outdoor party, one has to pay tribute to international organizers like Mixmag, Cercle, DJ Mag, Boiler Room and standout sets by sonic artists like Don Diablo, Hot Since 82, Moon Boots, Sébastien Léger, Honey Dijon and Polo & Pan. And of course, who can forget the mesmerizing organic/downtempo tunes inside Paris’ glass-bound Parc André Citroën.

Polo & Pan during a set at the outdoor event Cercle — an outfit specialized in livestreaming music on social media platforms.

The music at these raves is usually divided into phases; depending on the time of the day, the DJs-in-charge will come up with an appropriate mix to match the mood. The two most crucial phases of a rave are at dawn and dusk. Compared to the fast-paced techno/house mix and dramatic smoke theatricalities of the midday segment, the duration at sunset is much more gentle and sensual because during that golden hour when the sun slowly seeps into the horizon, the romance of the moment might steer one towards a relaxing mood, perhaps in some way to prepare for the electrifying sets at night.

In Saigon, a spiritual successor of such kinds of events, chock-full of memorable moments like the aforementioned, is Picniq, the first and only series of monthly events lionizing electronic music.

At a party, the music, ambiance and people are the main factors affecting the mood of participants. Judging by the reception after the series’ first two events, Picniq has satisfied all three requirements with aplomb.

Detracting from the norm of typical raves, the main music genre that Picniq gravitates toward is influenced by disco, house, organic/downtempo and techno. These “picnics” have strong nature vibes, at times dynamically incorporating percussion and traditional instruments from cultures across the globe.

DJ Minoto — the event’s music director — shared: “Even though each DJ has their own style, and it also depends on the music genre, but there’s a common thread: a type of music that’s both soft and intense, both dreamy and deep-reaching. It’s not too suffocating with a pounding bass like in discotheques, because the music is mixed in accordance with the feel of the passage of time and of the outdoors.”

DJ Minoto is the music director of the Picniq series.

Music that flows with its space

Each Picniq event is crafted based on a different theme, extrapolating from a commonality of a friend group’s picnic. The chosen venues are open spaces that dovetail with the theme — a rooftop, somewhere next to a river, up on a mountain or by the beach, etc. In the same vein, Picniq sticks to the theme with tablecloths with red-and-white checkered patterns, hand fans, wicker snack baskets, and even big wooden tables for large friend “squads.” The decorations of the stage and lighting design are also nuanced enough to make sure the attention centers on the people and the music. A perfect marriage of ambiance and melody, Picniq has guided the uninitiated ears to the colorful, emotionally diverse world of underground electronic music.

A space for connection

Connection is also another quality making Picniq events special. Right from the ideation stage, the team behind Picniq has aspired to create a new “hangout culture” — something that bridges the gaps between people sharing interests in music, fashion, cuisine or the arts in general.

The series’ co-founder Nguyễn Quốc Huy said: “The majority of Picniq’s participants are from creative industries — ad agencies, stylists, music producers, young entrepreneurs. Apart from their similar music sensibilities, I notice that the youths at these events share the same taste, they’re knowledgeable about and appreciate arts. Seeing our participants at Picniq sway along with the music, relish a glass of wine, banter with their old pals and befriending new ones, at times I feel like I’m not an event organizer but a host of a house party for my friends.”

Even the menu of Picniq was designed with a group of eaters in mind so everyone can sample and share the food like at an actual picnic. Besides, the team behind Picniq also collaborated with some of Vietnam’s most prominent restaurants, such as Shri or NOMU, to devise menus that fit the theme of each party.

À La Dérive, November 7

The next installment of Picniq, titled À La Dérive, is inspired by the majestic, expansive highlands — with verdant terrace fields hugging hillsides, enigmatic jungle stretches and even wide, windy swaths of blue skies. The party begins from 3pm on November 7, 2020 in Shri’s open patio. The music at the event is handled by a host of DJs with distinctive music styles like Minoto, Larria, Lâm Đạo Đạo, T.M.T, Tuong Hoang, etc. The appearance of guest DJ Xuxi will bring a fresh touch of Hanoi techno to keep the party sound diverse.

Visit a past Picniq “pinic” via the video below: