Posted : 2014-04-29 17:53
Updated : 2014-04-29 17:53

Haebangchon spring fest to take place in 16 venues May 16-18

A poster for Haebangchon May Festival

By John Redmond

Now in its ninth year, the Haebangchon May Festival (HBC May festival) will welcome the foreign and Korean music communities to 16 venues in Seoul's popular expat neighborhood from May 16 to 18.

"This time there is going to be a big difference. The festival takes place in the two Yongsan-gu neighborhoods of Haebangchon and Kyeongridan," said event organizer Lance Reegal Diehl.

"The HBC May festival is the expat music festival of the spring/summer, and now features over 100 live acts in 16 independent venues spread over three days, and it is the largest independent artist showcase in Korea," he continued.

The festival was originally started by two local musicians, Lance Reegan-Diehl and James Gaynor in 2006.

It began as a showcase for expat musicians in the city to perform to larger and often unobtainable crowds. Now the fest is a staple of the local economy, however the festival has experienced its fair share of ups and downs, from a lack of performers and enthusiasm for the second winter festival in December 2006, to a cordon of riot policemen lining the main street to allow traffic through.

At one point local authorities threatened to close the festival down in 2012.

This is not a street party. Signs will be posted once again about traffic caution.

"The small street where the action happens is very famous as a local expat hangout. And today the street has been even more popularized by MBC and SBS for showcasing certain restaurants and the unique culture of the area,' said Reegan-Diehl.

"Here many small independent businesses owners sell their goods and ply their trade, until that weekend in May when tables are cleared away, space is made for musical equipment, and posters are pinned to the doors," he added.

"The festival has always adapted to the demands of both musicians and venues, and with that the size and scope of the festival has fluctuated through the years."

This year's festival sees the return of regulars VFW, Phillies, Orange Tree, Bonny's Pizza Pub, FIX and Camarata Music, with many new spaces getting involved. Hungry Dog, Good To Go, Rabbit Hole, Genie Pub, 7ATE9, Thunderhorse Tavern, Southside Parlor, Craftworks, Magpie Brewing, Upper Deck and Bar Carmen will also participate, and cigar bar BURN will be supporting the ‘Jazzier' side of the festival.

Street level acoustic performers will entertain the busy bars, while below ground a plethora of rock, alt-rock, funk, blues, R&B bands will keep the air vibrant until 1 a.m. Once again meetings with the local authorities by Lance Reegan-Diehl and Phillies owner Scott Mayoh, have brought about caution in the streets.

The festival begins on May 16 with the music starting at 9 p.m. and running until after midnight. May 17 is from about 2 p.m. until 1 a.m. with 16 plus venues. May 18 will see a few performances, singer songwriter afternoon at Craftworks 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., followed by the Blues Jam from Hangover at Phillies Pub 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Entry is free and T-shirt will cost 10,000 won to support the festival. This year the organizers will have a specific festival tent supporting T-shirts, fliers, maps, and other festival items.

For more details, including an updated schedule and list of performers, please visit—dashboard—filter=upcoming&source=1.

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