Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Art & Culture Come to Hua Hin At Wik (Vic) Hua Hin

The brain cells must be going faster than realized. Had driven by Vic Hua Hin several times in the past few weeks and couldn't figure out why they would build a club/disco so far south of town. It looked like something more for the Bangkok crowds so didn't think much more about it but did note that at least it wasn't as ugly as Plearnwan and certainly had much better parking facilities.

Then last week observed that the new buildings going up just south of Vic were to be a school for the performing arts--Patravadi High School no less and couldn't imagine why anyone would build a high school next door to a club/disco.

But then late, late last night had an epiphany and realized what was what.

It had been years since FBF had commuted in Bangkok. This was long before our current wireless days with iPhones and netbooks so there wasn't much to do while stuck in traffic but read. Long traffic jams often made short shrift of magazines and books and sometimes one had to resort to reading the Post. Even on a good news day it didn't take long to read the first section and one was then stuck with their Arts section. That's where he'd seen the name Patravadi.

The Judy Garland of Thailand. Hair the opposite of Khunying Porntip, often on TV in a special with her name in the title. The name that comes to mind when putting the words Thailand and Broadway together.

The Vic isn't going to be a club or disco. It's either a super club or theater, in the live, so close you can smell them, sense of the word. Original name too, if was pronounced like a V.

Late night/early morning research then led to the fact that the Fringe Festival 2010 will be held at the Vic. (It was so late that FBF kept reading the venue in the Thai flyer as Wat Hua Hin rather than Vic Hua Hin and was wondering why all these concerts where being held in the Hua Hin Temple...)

The festivities kick off on the 22nd of January and continue most weekends through late February. There will be concerts, plays, musicals, puppet shows and comedies. Tickets are from free to 1,200 Baht, depending on the show.

There will even be a Thai-US Country music battle with the US represented by a Kyle Dillingham from Enid*, Oklahoma, that little zit off the panhandle of the Great State of Texas.

Kyle ain't no Johnny Gimble or Doug Kershaw but he's one of the featured performers in Patravadi's Phra Lor which debuted last summer at the Patravadi Theater in Bangkok and will be presented in Hua Hin January 29-31, 2010.

So, polish your shoes and iron your suit and get ready to get cultured. If you have teenagers who are aspiring entertainers, check out the high school.

Art and Culture are coming to Hua Hin.

*Two old wildcatters, Wiley and Will, had dug their last dry hole and had just gotten plumb tired of Champlin getting all the good leases. They decided to head west where they'd heard that Okies were treated right nicely in CalifornIa. It was a particularly windy day in the Dust Bowl, and as they headed west they passed a wide place in the road and noticed a couple of buildings almost covered in tumbleweeds. Wiley asked his buddy, Will, "What in blazes was that?" Will was driving as it was the only way he could get even with Wiley for the way he flew, so he looked in the rearview mirror and replied, "eniD."

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hua Hin Countdown & Food Festival 28 December - 5 January

The Hua Hin Countdown & Food Festival will be held at 19 Rai from 28 December 2009  through 5 January 2010.

These events are usually pretty good.  There's plenty of space and ample parking. The music might not be the Luk Tung headliners like at the music festivals but there's usually a different band or two each night doing Thai and Western covers. Other entertainment is also provided by various schools featuring dancing and singing by students.

All types of foods are available from the stands surrounding the seating area offering everything from satay to burgers to grilled seafood, somtam and chicken. Portions are small and inexpensive so it's an ideal opportunity to sample a variety of dishes without breaking the bank. Singh and Leo beer are in abundance and there are plenty of tables and chairs. The facility has improved greatly over the years as it's now sealed, has a large permanent stage and toilet facilities.

It's also very family friendly and there are small toys, balloons and other trinkets for sale to keep the children busy while the adults munch out and people watch.

19 Rai is near Queen's Park, across the road from the beach, roughly behind Klai KangWan Temple or Index, accessible from Phetkasem Road via Soi 19 or Soi 35.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

UPDATE--Odds and Ends for December

The Hua Hin Bike Week 2009 was a raging success. Many, many bikes and bikers from all over the country and Malaysia and Singapore. Lots of Chang, food, music and old friends catching up. Hats off to the Vampire MC of Hua Hin.

Billy's Birthday party was also quite a night. Biggest crowd this party goer has seen since Randy's Birthdays at Goldfingers. The band was excellent and still had the crowd going long after FBF headed home. The biggest surprise was that locals were heavily outnumbered by tourists and passersby. Will try to post some photos on the Billy's Bar page. Can't wait til next year.

The Hua Hin Rock Festival is this Saturday, the 19th, and there are sound trucks up and down the Sois reminding folks. Posters are everywhere so the road to Khao Takieb should be quite backed up all day Saturday. Too bad the road to Khao Takieb is the only road through Hua Hin...

It looks like the Intercontinental Hua Hin is finally open. At least all the trucks are off the street and traffic is much better in that part of town though the Marrakesh down the road has a long way to go and the earthmovers are still quite busy.

The new golf course at the Suan Son Army Camp seems to be coming along. Sprinklers are going full throttle and the heavy equipment seems to have all moved up to the Marrakesh operation in town. Shouldn't be too long before the course opens.

Speaking of the Intercontinental, Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams will be celebrating New Year's Eve at the new resort before facing off in the Hua Hin Centennial Invitation tennis match next year. This event is being organised by the Lawn Tennis Association of Thailand under the patronage of His Majesty the King and the city of Hua Hin.

The Hua Hin Centennial Invitation will be held at Centennial Park* (currently under feverish construction at Soi 112), on Saturday 2 January 2010 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the seaside resort and usher in the New Year in exciting fashion with two of the most popular tennis players in the world.

After their singles match, Maria and Venus will combine with local stars Paradorn Srichaphan and Danai Udomchoke for a set of mixed doubles.

There are other activities and festivals coming up over the holidays so there are places to go and things to do other than the mandatory gala dinners at the big hotels. Additional posts will be added soon with the details.

*Centennial Park is south of town at Soi 112, just past the big curve to Pranburi. It's just south of the ramp of the overpass, across from the Mobil station. As it's still under construction, it's difficult to be sure, but it appears that parking will be limited.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rotary Club Hua Hin Festivities 28 December 2009

From: Admin Chair, Provisional RCRHH


Dear Fellow Charter Members, Rotarians and potential Rotarians.

The Provisional Club Rotary of Royal Hua Hin invites you, your friends and family for a festive fellowship at Sunset Boulevard Bar in Khao Takiap on Monday 28th December 2009 from 7.30pm

There will be live music from Howard Harper with his guitar and his famous repertoire of blues and old classics.

Why not come and get to know your fellow members a bit better and have a great evening out!

We will have a complimentary buffet and 10% of all receipts for the evening will be donated to the Rotary Club of Royal Hua Hin.

We would be grateful if you would let us know if you are coming and how many guests so that we can cater for the right amount of people.


Sunset Boulevard lies directly opposite Wat Nong Kae just past the Chiva Som on the left hand side of the Khao Takiap Road. There is ample parking on the main road.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Billy's Having A Birthday @ Billy's Bar

Billy is having a Birthday Party at Billy's Bar and Restaurant on Monday the 30th of November.

Not lots of time to make plans but it will be the place to be on Monday evening. Live band, some food and lots of drinks and a good crowd of Billy's friends.

Check in with those you haven't seen in a while and wish Billy and Davey a Happy Birthday!

If someone else is there, Billy's not responsible...

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hua Hin Bike Week: 4th - 5th December 2009

The Hua Hin Bike Week is this Friday and Saturday the 4th and 5th of December. It will be held at the same place as last year, 48 Rai field, along the klong, roughly even with Soi 33 on Petchkasem Rd. or roughly across the klong from the Mooban Karet.

If you drive south along the klong from Soi 10 or north along the klong from Soi 56, it's about half way between the two sois, on the east side of the road. Just listen for the sound of sweet pipes.

Haven't been to one before but reports have always been very positive so will try to take the family this year. Lots of bikes, food and music. Tattoos and T-shirts and other things to decorate your body or ride are also available.

Lots of bikers and Motorcyle Clubs from all over Thailand will be there with their machines and probably some from S'pore and Malaysia.

If you like bikes, beer and good food, be there.

It's been family friendly in the past and will assume it will remain that way this year as the MCs provide their own security and they like being able to come to Hua Hin.

The photo above is from the 2008 Bike Week and is provided by On The Road Thailand.com

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

November Odds & Ends

Word is that there's going to be a Rib Night at Billy's Bar on Thursday but the bad news is that it's already sold out. There must be some Canadians in town. Hope there are pictures.

Reliable sources were saying a couple of weeks ago that the Baja Taco Mobile would be up and running in a few days. It must have booked passage on that Hi Speed Ferry from Pattaya as neither have been seen or heard from.

Unless TETCBM occurs, it looks like the Hua Hin Rock Festival is still a go. Seeing posters and sound trucks around town talking about it so keep 19 December open.

Rotary Club of Hua Hin will be having their weekly meeting at the Grand Hotel on Friday in preparation for the December 4 elections. Last day to accept Charter Candidates is 18 December. There will be no meetings on 25 December or 1 January.

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Hua Hin Rock Festival, 19 December 2009

When FBF first saw this, he thought it was just another Honda thing but then he looked a little closer. There are some real Rock 'n' Rollers here. Someone once compared Ad Carabao to Willie Nelson.  If that's permissible, then what many more have said, that Laem Morrison is the Thai version of Jimi Hendrix, is probably actually true.

While Jimi was playing at Woodstock in 1969, Laem was leading the house band at the VIP Hotel* on the banks of the Mekong in Nakhon Phanom. His hot licks were very popular with the GIs and when not playing at the VIP, he toured the American bases throughout Essan in the late '60's and early '70's.

Laem later toured in Germany and other European countries where he became known as The Guitar King. He has also toured in the US and Australia and for the past several years has called The Blues Factory in Pattaya his home.

Another regular from The Blues Factory, Olarn and The Olarn Project, are also on the bill. Olarn is quite well known as a guitarist and songwriter.

Bong Hin Lek Fai is also listed and, with a name like that, has got to be a local boy made good.

With bands like this already on the card, FBF wouldn't be surprised if Ad or Sek Loso and others don't also make the scene.

It should be a good night but traffic will suck big time. No idea where in Khao Takiab it will be held but just follow the cars until you hear the noise and then pray for a parking place.

These guys are very popular with the Jesters MC also so if you see some big Harleys, just go where they go.

* The VIP Hotel still exists in NKP but the heady nights when Laem and the VIP Band were there are just fond memories. If you're ever in NKP, stop by and have a cold on the (now cracking) patio for the one of the best views of Laos by far. FBF spent many an evening there in the early '80's when the owner's son played him some tapes of Laem and the band.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Do You Know David K. Smyth?

Do you know this man?

Since October of 2008 there have been a few posts on the web about Gerald Chester McAfee AKA David Nathan Ward AKA Dennis Kennedy AKA Thomas Guthrie AKA Jerry Griffith AKA David K. Smyth  and possibly at least one other alias. Teakdoor has posted here and ThaiVisa has a post here about the arrest in Thailand in 2008 and subsequent sentencing in the US in 2009 for the 1985 embezzlement of funds from College Hospital in Downey, California. Both of these posts quote an L.A. Times post here.

All three posts mention:
Over the years, the FBI periodically sought the public's help in locating McAfee. At one point the bureau put the handsome, wavy-haired former swimming coach on a wanted poster that listed five of his alleged aliases. But the case was essentially gathering dust until last year when a tipster informed the bureau that McAfee was living in Thailand. Special agents at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, working with Thai police, traced McAfee to a condominium purchased under the name David K. Smyth. A check of immigration records revealed that Smyth's passport bore McAfee's photo, authorities allege.
ThaiVisa's post also mentions:
McAfee, now 66, was indicted in absentia in 1987 on bank fraud, mail fraud and other charges.

A 2007 tip led FBI agents to Thailand, where McAfee apparently married and had children under the name David K. Smyth. After spending eight months in a Thai prison, McAfee was extradited to Los Angeles last year.

McAfee could have faced up to 65 years in prison if he had been convicted on the charges.

In a 20 minute speech, McAfee begged the judge to allow him to immediately return to his family in Thailand, saying "the man you see before you now is not the foolish man who committed the crime in '86."

But U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real rejected his request, saying, "this man has not been truthful for most of his life."

McAfee brought up his military record, telling Real he had served in Vietnam in the early 1960s with the Green Berets.

"I am humbly pleading and begging for mercy — not for me, for my children," McAfee said.

Real had just one question: "What happened to the million?"

McAfee replied that he'd spent it all within five years of taking the money. He'd been working in Bangkok as an English teacher at an American school until his arrest.
On both the ThaiVisa and Teakdoor forums, there are comments about the scam and how he got caught etc, but no one seems to know McAfee though he spent many years in Thailand as an English teacher in Bangkok.

FBF has recently learned that McAfee may have had another alias and the folks who knew him under this alias had no idea he was an English teacher.

FBF would very much like to know if anyone reading this recognizes the gentleman in the photo above or an English teacher going by the name of David K. Smyth bearing any resemblance to the man in the photo. It is well documented that there is another David (but A.) Smyth in and out of Bangkok who is a respected academic in the Thai language. No need to mention him but if a TEFL or other English teacher happens to read this and knows of a David Smyth, FBF would very much like to hear from you. Also, if you know of any Thailand based TEFL forums where  someone might know of David K. Smyth, it would be very much appreciated if you could post a link there to this post.

Lastly, there may be those who have taken the time to read this far who are thinking of a man in black, bedecked in gold, who was a disciple of Wat Pong. If so, then you probably know Randy, or Wanchai, or Hendry, or all of the above. This alias is not mentioned here as FBF is attempting to ascertain if David K. Smyth could be the man in black. FBF tends to think not but will keep an open mind...

Again, FBF would very much like to hear from anyone who has ever worked with, rode to work with, drank with or whatever with anyone named David who resembles the fellow at the top of this page. Thanks.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Odds and Ends

Just a few notes that haven't been added to the Hua Hin Pages yet:

Plearnwan, the box of corrugated tin near Soi 40 seems to be closed temporarily for expansion. This is probably why we see more Bkk cars wandering around aimlessly.

I've heard no more news about the ferry between Hua Hin and Pattaya. That really doesn't surprise me but if anyone hears anything new, please let us know.

Transport: The VIP bus between Korat and Hua Hin now has 5 trips each day, starting at 0830 through 2200.

The new minivan service between Hua Hin and Victory Monument in Bangkok is run by BKS and has at least one trip each hour between 0400 and 1900.

Moving the location for the music festival proved to be as big a headache as having it near the railway station. Why they don't do these things at 19 Rai is beyond me.

The ASEAN Summit is coming up in just over a week so make sure you've got the correct color shirt on.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

UPDATE--Hua Hin Free Concert Festival

In recognition of the 100 Year Anniversary of Hua Hin, the Hua Hin Free Concert Festival will be held from the 28th of August through the 6th of September at Pone Kingpetch Park on Damnern Kasem Road near the railway station.  Most of the music will be Luk Tung with some big stars on several nights.

OK, FBF erred.  It appears that this series of concerts will be not be where he thought but in a different location:

View Festival in a larger map

This site has good potential. While not in the central business district, it's right next to it and close enough where folks can walk and/or park nearby. There are already several small restaurants and drink establishments along the railway track so there will be plenty to eat and drink and one can probably pick out a good restaurant and just sit there to watch the crowds and listen to the music.

Lots of possibilities here.

For those not clear on the map, the entrance at Soi 68 is roughly across Petchkasem from the Highway Department Office or just north of the Thai Farmer's Bank or Bangkok Banks on Petchkasem.  The other entrance is along Chomsin Road or Soi 70 where Chomsin cross the railway tracks.

This could work out fine for everyone.

More as I hear of it.

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Latest Report on the 2009 Hua Hin Jazz Festival

A reader posts:
Oh, and speaking of the Jazz Fest, near as I can tell by visiting both venues last night, in spite of the claims that it's going to be the best yet (new management, Hua Hin 100 year celebration and all), it appears to be the worst in the 7 or so years it's been held.  They've brought back the 'boxer park' (Pone Kingpetch?) venue but there's no beer garden with tables / chairs.  It's SRO.  And the usual beer garden with large video on the beach road next to Sofitel is no longer.  The Heineken and cigarette girls are still pretty but I was nevertheless forced to a stool at Billy's Bar!
Well, FBF doesn't do jazz, or festivals, or places where he has to walk too far, so he can't attest that any of the above is true but a stool at Billy's doesn't sound bad at all.

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Monday, June 8, 2009

UPDATE--Hua Hin Jazz Festival 2009 June 12-14

Jazz Festival web site is here.

A word to the wise. If you're driving from Bangkok, be aware that several thousands of your neighbors are doing the same thing. If you want a parking place, you should already be here. On Friday, it will probably take you an at least an hour to get from Cha Am to the Sofitel.  Double or triple that on Saturday and you'll probably end up parking at Suan Son as even the hotels with large parking lots will be filled. Traffic shouldn't be as bad as it was during the Honda Summerfest in May, but that could just be wishful thinking on FBF's part. Enjoy the festival and don't forget to help clean up when you leave.             

From The Post.


Bangkok Post/VANNIYA SRIANGURA Jun 5, 2009

Hua Hin's annual music festival is promising a blockbuster line-up from around the world.

Hua Hin will once again host of one of the world's few beachside jazz festivals over the next weekend. But the free concert event, initiated by the community simply as an activity to boost the town's tourism, is never to be underestimated.

More than 35,000 jazz fans­both locals and foreigners­packed Hua Hin beach during last year’s festival.

Since it launched in 2002, the festival (with a few changes of title and organisers over the years) has welcomed over 300,000 visitors from across the globe, while its guest lists have included some of the world's most prestigious jazz performers, including Grammy award-winner John Pattitucci and Kenny Garrett from the USA, Cannon Ball from Australia and Montefiori Cocktail from Italy.

Hua Hin Jazz Festival 2009, which will take place on June 12-14, is, as usual, hosted by Hua Hin Municipality in conjunction with Hua Hin Hoteliers Club, Provincial Authority of Prachuap Khiri Khan and the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

This year, the three-day fiesta is organised by Plus 5 and Fatima Broadcasting International and will see British jazz-funk band Shakatak, Danish jazz singer Malene Mortensen, and Brazilian bossa nova group, Popsanova, among a number of international and local artists who will perform on the stage with Hua Hin's solemn sea in the background.

This is the first time Plus 5 and its sister company, Fatima Broadcasting, have gotten their hands on the Hua Hin affair. But the two companies aren't a new face in the business. Vilasinee Chivanond of Plus 5 and Rawiwan Jinda of Fatima Broadcasting are veterans of the music industry, and that seems to be very important, especially when it comes to handling world famous performers.

''I think one of the reasons we've been selected to be this year's organisers is because we have a good profile in music festivals and experience working with a lot of international artists,'' said Vilasinee.

''Since this is a free concert, we don't have financial ability to bring in world-class big names so we need to depend on a great relationship with the artists. Luckily, we happen to have that connection in hand,'' she noted.

Other than these famous guests like Shakatak and Malene Mortensen from Europe, 2009's line up of artists will see a rich blend of Asian artists including Noon, a sweet-voice bossa nova songstress from Japan, Estrella from Malaysia, as well as Mocca from Indonesia and Brass Munkeys from the Philippines. The latter two groups have performed in Europe many times.

British jazz-funk band Shakatak is expected to be another show stopper.

At the same time, the festival promises a neat selection of local jazz acts from three generations, from The Infinity and Bangkok Connection to Koh Mr Saxman and Gale Dila to Doobadoo and Mellow Motif, to name just a few.

''We try to make it as pure a jazz festival as possible, and not to combine several genres. But that doesn't mean we are making it a hard-core jazz event, because a section of the audience will not be hard-core jazz lovers. They might come just to chill out and might not be very familiar with acid jazz or fusion jazz. So we try to offer a variety, from easy listening pop jazz, to bossa nova and big band,'' Vilasinee said.

Among the underlined artists, Fatima Broadcasting's Ravivan, who is also a famous songstress herself, said that this will be the first time Shakatak will perform in a free concert, while Popsanova from Brazil is another one of the most interesting acts.

''I bet most music lovers here have listened to [Popsanova's] songs but didn't not know who they are,'' Ravivan noted. ''As far as I know, their CDs sold very well in this country, and this is going to be their first time in Thailand. Meanwhile, we shouldn't forget Malene, one of the most requested artists. She joined last year's festival and got an outstanding ovation from the audience.''

Hua Hin has been a current residence of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. And this year the noble resort town is celebrating its 100-year anniversary. So the organiser aims to make this year's episode a world-class affair that pays tribute to HM the King, whose musical talent, especially jazz, is highly glorified, as well as to celebrate Hua Hin's centennial anniversary.

Among a rich blend of Thai jazz artists to take the stage this year is Nui Viriyapa.

With the ''green jazz'' concept, other than a variety of entertainment activities which will pack Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, the organisers have come up with a number of community service activities to give something back to Hua Hin. These include planting trees and beach cleaning. But the big highlight this year is the fact that every single band _ local and imported _ will perform at least one of His Majesty the King's numbers.

''Because jazz performance relies on the quality of sound and not other visual effects, we can't compromise on the sound system. Actually it's the most important concern among all artists, especially when they're world-class performers,'' said the organiser.

''We know that it is difficult to set a good concert outdoors, especially when the sound of waves and wind are the obstacles, but we hire the best sound engineers available, so audiences won't have to worry.''

This year, the balmy jazz tunes will be presented on two stages: the beach stage near the Sofitel Centara Hua Hin Hotel and the city stage, officially called Jazz Royale satge, at Phone Kingphet park on Damnern Kasem Road. Between the two venues, the 200-metre strip, which will be open to pedestrians only, will see a number of activity workshops and booths that will keep the festival mood running all day long.

''The only difference between the two stages will be the atmosphere. The beach stage is more chill-out, while the park stage will be ideal if you'd like to enjoy the music rather than the ambience,'' noted Ravivan.

For security issues, the festival has gathered support from the municipality, while the organisers have hired a team of security guards with extensive experience of working at outdoor concerts. ''They know what to do; how to react with music fans and festival goers,'' confirmed the organiser.

Visitors are asked not to bring lots of food, due to security concerns. For example, any food on skewers will not be allowed into the audience area, nor will be glass bottles.

''There will be a number of local food vendors both from the five-star hotels and local food shops. So plenty of food and drink will be available at reasonable prices,'' Vilasinee said.

And if you'd like to stay overnight, do book a room now because accommodation in Hua Hin and nearby Cha-am get booked up quickly during festival times. Most five-star hotels are offering special packages that weekend. Contact the hotels for more information.

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

The 8th HUA HIN Jazz Festival 2009

This year, The 8th HUA HIN Jazz Festival 2009 is scheduled to be held from 12 – 14 June 2009 in honour of the Musical Talents of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand and to celebrate the occasion of HUA HIN’s 100th Anniversary with the HUA HIN GREEN JAZZ concept.

Highlight of this year HUA HIN Jazz Festival will be the performances of Thai, Asian and world famous International Jazz musicians during the 3 days in different locations; on the beach and at Phonkingphet Public Park.

Those musicians appearing have not yet been disclosed.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Honda Summer Fest@ Hua Hin

OK, you rock and rollers. If you recognize any of these bands, you get in free. Otherwise, you don't have to pay.
Honda Summer Fest@ Hua Hin The 2nd Summer Music Festival will be held on Saturday 2 May, 2009 from 12.00 -24.00 pm. Located at Khao Ta Kieb beach, Hua Hin There will be more than 20 bands, both Thai and Foreign. Bands include Groove Riders, Joey Boy, Scrub, Lipta, Poe Yokee Playboy, Som Amara, Mild, Creshendo, Teddy Scar Band, Sri Racha Rocker, Madacasca, Joe-Fax, Kai-Joe Brother, Tmon, Okey Mocca, Superglasses Ska Ensemble and Foreign Band; Nossa Alma Canta from Italy. For more information please kindly contact Honda 24 Hours Hotline at Tel: 02-341-7777

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