Posted on June 25, 2016


There have been a lot of festivals already this year, and there are a lot more still waiting in the wings. One of those that have already happened is the Chuncheon Band Festival, set in the beautiful city of Chuncheon in Gangwon-do (May 12/13). The festival continued into the chilly early hours of the morning each day and DOINDIE, who were lucky enough to get an invite, were there watching live shows right until the chilly end. The lineup was fantastic and, as always, it was great to get out of Seoul for a few days as well. Suffice to say, we had a great time and made lots of cool memories at Chuncheon Band Festival.

2016’s Chuncheon Band Festival boasted an amazing lineup that included Galaxy Express, YB, MOT, Lee Seung-Hwan, Guckkasten and more, so if you are someone who is already interested in live music, it was sure to catch your attention right away. Also, if you are interested in Korea’s independent music scene, then you may probably be somewhat familiar with Chuncheon thanks to its connection to to live music through SangSangMadang’s recording studios and live hall that are located out there. Most concerts in Korea tend to happen in Seoul, and are especially concentrated in the Hongdae area of the city. Chuncheon Band Festival, which appeared out of nowhere but has already passed its third birthday, is one of the events that might ultimately go a decent way towards bridging the cultural divide that exists between the capital city and the other cities in Korea. For the Seoul fans, it is a nice excuse to escape the everyday hustle and bustle of the city and discover an exciting new place.

What makes a good music festival? A lineup packed full of awesome bands? A reasonable ticket price? These are certainly two of the conditions that are sure to attract a load of people to a festival. However, in my opinion the best festivals have a high understanding of what makes a good, overall festival experience. At the start of the first influx of music festivals into Korea everyone there was moshing, skanking and slamming their way through each and every song for the full day. However, wearing cool clothes and dancing through the day is not everyone's idea of a good festival. Other people like to enjoy the quieter side of the festival--picnics, food, shops, chilling out, or participating in the other activities on offer. Whether you like to jump around excitedly or quietly keep the beat by tapping your feet, everyone has their own way of enjoying a festival.

Chuncheon Band Festival seems to understand this, and have created a festival that feels very free and comfortable for all. On one side loads of people carrying flags created a mosh pit area, while on the other side near the fence, people were chilling out and applauding the bands from the comfort of sitting on the grass. Compared to last year, this year’s festival was held in a much bigger space which had lots of convenient facilities, such as being able to pay for everything by card, portable toilets and many additional fun activities. The lineup had loads of outstanding acts, including everyone from hard-working independent bands to more mainstream pop acts.

There were loads of good points about the festival; however, I think that the one negative thing was probably the timetable. One of the things about Chuncheon is that it is quite far away from Seoul, and so it was always going to be hard for the majority of people to get back home. To make matters worse, bands were scheduled to play long after the last trains back to Seoul departed and there were no camping options. I guess that the organisers thought about that too and scheduled bands & DJs to play through the night so people could take the first train home. In some ways it is an interesting idea; it would be kind of romantic to watch bands under the stars until 3 in the morning, wouldn’t it? However, it turns out that it’s really cold in Chuncheon at night and the amount of shows throughout the day / night was rather tiring. Because of that, around the time the last bands were finishing their sets, the audience was in real need of a rest and was not really enjoying the sets any more. There were DJs playing later still, but by that time most people had left and the DJs remained a rather sad sight, playing to almost no one in the cold.

Nevertheless, Chuncheon Band Festival is well worth keeping an eye on to see how it develops in the future. As I said at the start of the article, most live shows in Korea are held in Seoul, but wherever you go in the country, there is great music to be heard. It’s really great and encouraging to see a show like this happening outside of Seoul. There is a certain thrill for the people who travel to be there and, for the locals, it is great not to have to go all the way into Seoul to catch a live show. It is my hope that there will be more and more great shows held outside of Seoul to help people escape the stresses of daily life. I hope that festivals like Chuncheon Band Festival become the norm, rather than the exception. In time, the negative points will surely be ironed out, and I hope that lots more people get to make good memories at Chuncheon Band Festival.

They might want to think about coming up with a better name as well ;)

Written By: A-Lim Lee
English Translation: Patrick Connor & Doyeon Lim
Editing: Rock N Rose

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