Performers show a traditional Korean drum dance during a parade at last year’s Itaewon Global Village Festival. This year’s festival will be held from Friday to Sunday in the tourist district and will feature various cultural programs. / Courtesy of Yongsan-gu Office
By Kim Rahn
An international culture festival will take place over the weekend in Itaewon, the special tourist zone in central Seoul.
The Itaewon Global Village Festival will kick off Friday for a three-day run on the main street of the shopping and dining district, Yongsan-gu Office said Tuesday.
Various cultural programs, performances, games and food promotions will be presented on the street between Noksapyeong and Itaewon stations, with some 30 foreign embassies in Seoul, thousands of merchants and residents participating.
Vehicles will be banned from the street there during the festival period.
“The annual festival, which began in 2008, has become one of Seoul’s representative events. This year we have more music and performance programs,” a district official said.
Starting at 2 p.m. on the first day, musicians and dancers will take to the street for concerts, which will be followed by World Cultural Performances where folk dances and music of various countries will be presented.
The performances will be held every day during the festival period. In the evening, a “DJing” party will be held by famous DJs from Itaewon’s clubs.
The second day will be the official beginning of the festival. A parade with 900 participants in 25 teams will take place for two hours from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the 1.5-kilometer section from Hanjangjin Station to Noksapyeong Station.
The participants will include performing art troupes in traditional costumes from various countries; the military band of the U.S. Eighth Army; taekwondo practitioners; hip-hop dancers; and a “chajeon nori” team from Andong, North Gyeongsang Province, which will showcase the traditional game in which competitors engage in a form of mock combat, while scaling large wooden frames held together by twine.
After the parade, the opening ceremony will be held, followed by a concert at which girl group Sistar will perform.
The festival will be closed with a concert by jazz musicians and Korean indie rock band Crying Nut at 5 p.m. on the last day.
Throughout the three days, more than 60 food booths will be set up along the street, presenting authentic cuisine from all over the world at affordable prices. Korean residents of Yongsan will also offer traditional Korean cuisine.
“Visitors can experience handicrafts of many countries, as well as purchase them. They will also be able to take photos in foreign traditional costumes,” the official said.
Foreign residents and tourists will also have opportunities to learn how to play traditional Korean musical instruments and folk games such as “yut-nori” (a game played with four wooden sticks) and “jegi-chagi” (tassel kicking), he said.