Hilltribe concert in Chiang Mai for legal status and against HIV/AIDS, human trafficking, and drug abuse

On November 3rd, 2007, we went to the second International hill tribe concert to advocate for recognition of legal status and the prevention of HIV/AIDS, human trafficking, and drug abuse. The concert attracted more than 20 popular hill tribe singers, from seven ethnic groups, who led the show with songs, entertainment and messages delivered in Karen, Hmong, Mien, Akha, Lisu, Tai Yai and Lahu languages. The show took place at Chiang Mai University.

Three years ago, Thailand’s first International Hill tribe Pop Concert, organized by UNESCO and Radio Thailand Chiang Mai, shook the mountains around Chiang Mai with a crowd of 4,000 stomping, dancing, jumping and singing fans. "The first concert was a major success – both as entertainment and in bringing attention to the issues facing hill tribe people ," said Dr. David A. Feingold, head of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Trafficking and HIV/AIDS Project and one of the event’s co-organizers. This year’s event was a bit smaller, mostly due to the weather conditions of rain which changed the location of the event in the last minute (probably with the result that many people couldn’t find it or stayed home due to the rain).

One of the main purposes of the concert was also to help educate lowland Thai people to think of the hill tribe people as citizens of the country and not simply a tourist attraction. Organized in honor of H.M. the King of Thailand’s 80th Birthday, the concert was furthermore an opportunity for highlanders to express their gratitude to King Bhumipol for his work in improving the livelihood and welfare of mountain people.

The concert, which was free of charge, was very well presented and we enjoyed the performance very much. If you get the chance to go next time the event takes place, do go – it supports a great cause and is very enjoyable at the same time.