The creatives behind Quest have put on some of Vietnam’s most unforgettable festivals. Now, in their fourth edition, they’re asking us to trust them. Photos by Thuy-Tien Nguyen (for andofotherthings.com)
After three successful parties in the wilderness of paradise, Quest is taking the concept where they’ve been pushing it all along — into the unknown.
This latest iteration is an intimate affair as far as precedent goes, with maybe half of last Quest’s 1,000 attendees turning out. But as far as what kind of intimacy, they can’t tell you. You’ll just have to trust them.
Organiser Jeremy Wellard feels this is what the Quest experiment has been building toward all along. “We’re taking a risk here, but we wanted to see what would happen if we really go out on a limb, and [more] importantly if we were to say ‘no’. No, we will not tell you the location, the lineup, the intimate details. No, you cannot drive yourself there. Instead we’re challenging our audience to trust us to do something amazing.”
In the lead-up to the last Quest, I wrote some fluffy words about festivals like Quest being “a celebration of that fluttery feeling you sometimes get on a good night, by and for those who find their truth in watching the sun come up”... on and on into cringe-infinity.
And then I drove out to Quest, skidded on some highway gravel at 50km/h, and on arriving the next day became known as the guy whose arm was covered in blood-coloured Betadine. Suffice it to say, I didn’t have the time I was hoping for.
When I chatted with Jeremy on the phone, I told him about my experience, and how I’d wanted to interact with the festival in a different way than by dancing. He said that was exactly what they were trying to do.
“The idea behind holding a ‘mystery’ event is to see if we can take our audience on a journey with us,” he later wrote me. “Our previous events have helped us build a reputation for delivering quality weekend festivals based around music and activities. Now we want to begin to challenge ourselves, and [challenge] our guests to step further out of their comfort zone.
“We are very keen on expanding our programme to focus on a deeper range of experiences. Of course Quest will stay a music festival with a really exciting programme of DJs and local live bands, but we are also building a great programme of workshops and arts activities, diverse performances and lots of different ways for people to participate.”
One Cat Out
Musical director Luke Poulson dropped a hint on Quest’s Facebook on Mar. 25:
“This Quest we’re happy to have one of Vietnam’s premier disco divas bringing re-edits, classics and pure boogie selections to our very special Lucid Lounge... At the last Quest we provided a mini area for left field, funk, disco, chill, hip-hop and dub music — this Quest we have expanded the area to make a toe-tapping garden delight.”
In an email, he gave us a little more. “[We're] stoked to announce a major festival headliner who will be joining us from the UK... we have stripped things down and gone right back to what it’s all about — having an absolute blast to pure party music. Do yourself a massive favour and catch this act.”
Jeremy’s hints are a bit more cryptic. “We also want to encourage people to explore the festival site and find new things, hidden secrets. Not everything will be laid out and easy to find. Some parts of the festival will require people to go on a little journey, or look for clues and see where that path through the trees leads.”
But he’s got to be cryptic, as Quest is gearing up to be the kind of festival that will depend on us. “Festivals can be amazing experiences for open-minded people willing to put their trust in each other and the organisers,” he writes. “We want to fill this festival with those types of people.”
Quest Festival will be somewhere outside of Hanoi, from Apr. 10 to Apr. 12. Sign up for the ride at quest.bigtime.vn — and hurry! Ticket sales end Apr. 3