After the success of last year’s ASEAN Village event, the Youth Assembly is excited to celebrate the rich tapestry of Khmer culture with the inauguration of the Culture Festival, scheduled for October 28 and 29 at Phnom Penh’s F3 (Friends Futures Factory).

The Youth Assembly is a group of young Cambodians who work towards promoting civic participation and patriotism.

This week’s event is a part of the Cambodian Culture Exhibition 2023. It has been carefully designed to not just showcase the illustrious heritage of the Khmer Empire, but also to provide an immersive experience to attendees.

Heng Mey Chhun, project manager of the event, envisions a future where traditional Khmer art is revered and celebrated globally.

“Our main objective is to galvanise greater public participation in uplifting and endorsing various traditional Khmer art forms,” he said.

To ensure a holistic experience, he claimed the festival has lined up an array of masterful performances that promise to captivate attendees.

The roster includes many performances of different elements of the Kingdom’s rich and varied cultural heritage.

On display will be examples of Kun Lbokator (the fearsome martial art of the Khmer Empire), Chapei Dang Veng (a playful and informative style of storytelling accompanied by a lute), the chicken dance, Lkhon Khol (masked theatre), shadow puppet theatre, traditional dances from around the Kingdom and even a performance by contemporary musical artists.

Mey Chhun described the performances as the “crown jewels” of the Culture Festival.

With their sights set on attracting an international audience, the organisers anticipate a large influx of foreign attendees. Several well-regarded scholars of the traditional folk and dance forms are also expected to attend, adding gravitas to the event.

Beyond the attractive performances, attendees will be able to wander through a visual treat of paintings, feast their eyes on intricate objects d’art, marvel at delicate handicrafts and sample some of the Kingdom’s finest traditional food at a myriad of food stalls.

“The spectrum of activities will range from engaging performances to interactive classes, like one on natural fabric dyeing using plants – a true homage to traditional Khmer practices,” Mey Chhun told The Post.

For many, attending the festival will be a gesture of solidarity towards promoting Cambodian traditional arts.

“The support of the public empowers our veteran artists. Their experience is pivotal in championing traditional Khmer art,” added Mey Chhun.

The event is a collaborative effort, with backing from the Union Youth Federations of Cambodia (UYFC) Svay Rieng branch, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.

The Youth Assembly first organised a traditional cultural event and food fair in 2022, where it showcased the Kingdom, as part of the ASEAN Village event.

Hosted at the National University of Management (NUM) in Phnom Penh, the event aimed to foster a deeper appreciation for the diverse traditions of ASEAN nations.