27th Jul 2012 - 29th Jul 2012 - A South Korean Summer...
Jisan Valley Rock festival
The rain has finally stopped we were relieved to see, however after the rainy season is the true Korean summer which involves heat and humidity! It is averaging about 31-38degrees every day and the humidity is really high – so we are finding it quite hard and tiring to live in, thank goodness for the air-con in our flat and at school they have weak air-con on too, we are told that Korea is conserving energy as a few nuclear power plants have closed down and they are worried about an energy crisis in the summer because it so hot!
This weekend we went to Jisan Rock Festival up near Seoul in a city called Icheon. The festival was held in the grounds of a ski resort so the scenery was stunning and it was quite bizarre seeing ski lifts on the mountains surrounding the stages!
We got there by bus then a free shuttle bus to the festival itself, we didn’t actually know about the shuttle bus as a friendly Korean guy we met at the station told us to come with him and use it instead of forking out for a taxi! His name is Hong and he was actually really helpful, in fact we couldn’t get rid of him for the next 2 hours as he insisted on camping next to us and was mightily disappointed when he realised we had reserved a tent set up in advance and there was no space in that field so he left us begrudgingly!!
One thing we have noticed about Korea – everything has to be exceptionally organised, I mean literally they probably have organisers in charge of the overall organisation! It was so organised that it was confusing – we had to queue for 3 different sets of tickets then again for 3 different wristbands I mean who needs 3 wristbands for a festival it was ridiculous! Then there was a line of foreigners who had all done the same thing and messed up the camping tickets which it turned out you had to pay extra for, no-one had told us this which was annoying but eventually an hour later we made it through the gates! Then of course we had to queue again for a smart card – no cash was accepted at any stall you had to pay by a smart card and top it up at separate offices, involving yet again you guessed it another long queue! The smart card is actually a great idea and something I would like to see at European festivals it makes it so much easier for the staff and cuts down food and drink queues as everyone just swipes their cards so that was a cool feature!
I’m so glad we rented the tent and it was all set up ready for us, they had arranged the tents in the neatest lines I had ever seen which was quite sweet and they all had little flags and numbers on them!
So we were finally in and ready to see some bands! Over the 3 days we discovered some new Japanese and Korean rock bands, our favourite was a Japanese group called ‘Spyair’ they had some cool tunes. The headliners were all British; Radiohead (amazing), James Blake (he was shit and we’d never heard of him so don’t know what they were thinking having him headline) and Stone Roses (brilliant, they were an amazing finale)! Plus Beady Eye (Liam Gallagher is far too arrogant for my liking but they were ok) and Elvis Costello (we missed half his set due to all the queuing at the entrance)! We also saw American band Owl City who were enormously popular in Korea and were actually really amazing live and Motion City Soundtrack, among a few more Korean bands who I can’t remember the names of!
The heat was intense though and we both got quite badly sunburnt, even after applying sun cream because you sweat so much in the humidity it just runs off so that was slightly painful! Overall it was fun but not a patch on European festivals I think we are so spoilt in England for great festivals and Korean ones have a long way to go to match up! We got interviewed by a Seoul newspaper crew who wanted to write about the differences between English and Korean festivals so that was quite fun and they seemed really intrigued. Jisan only started in 2009 so it was really good considering its infancy; we had a great time despite the heat and sunburn!!