In a country the size of Korea it is difficult to overestimate the cultural gravity of a city like Seoul. Aspiring artists, musicians, designers and all manner of creative types flock to the city like an ajossi to soju. That tends to make the cultural landscape outside of Gyeonggi a little dry, except for the oasis that is the Sunset Janghang festival.
Not your run of the mill warm-beer muddy-field-based ruckus, Sunset is a mixed-format art and culture festival. Taking place in Chungnam, in the industrial town of Janghang in Seochon, the festival was established as a regenerative effort to breathe life into the area. With venues including old warehouses, a freight train station, a rice granary and the local white-sand beach, the festival is woven into the fabric of the town itself, giving it more post-industrial chic that a Berlin squat party.
The centrepiece of the festival is known simply as the Art Factory Project. Running from the opening weekend this is a space where Korean art students from Seoul and around the country can showcase their work to the more established intelligentsia. A talent showcase cum networking event, this is a great opportunity to get to the core of the country’s art scene and get a glimpse at it’s rising stars.
But of course, where there are students there is drink. And where there are art students and drink, there is music. Running alongside the Art Factory project is the True Colors Music Festa (American spelling included for googlability). Taking place in the town’s Lighter’s Wharf, the lineup includes perennial favourites Idiotape, along with Mongoose, Smacksoft, Used Cassettes and a whole host of other live acts and DJs. The music will be accompanied by a street dance team, a skateboard performance team, and outdoor DJs.
Also featured as part of the festival is a Healing Camp on the beach, with Mandala drawing, percussion performances, a crafts market and yoga. There’s a Media Art School at which you can participate in workshops and play around with New Media materials – bound to feature lots of interactive installations and general projector based shiny things. There’s also a cross-media collaborative performance known as M.A.ZIK (Media + Art + Music) and another interactive media exhibition known as the ARS Workshop.
If you’re an arts graduate missing the days of standing around
looking cool being cultured and drinking free booze complimentary wine, Janghang Sunset Festival is the perfect opportunity for you to immerse yourself in the Korean art-school scene, boast about your final-year project and tell everyone about how you really want to go back to uni and do a masters. And if the weather disappoints, remember you can always submit your monsoon pictures to this month’s Chinchagram competition!
To get to Sunset Janghang Festival follow the instructions written on the comments section of this event page.
Words by Gary Moran, who also writes this blog.