Last night saw the return of Global Gathering Korea to Hangang Park, Nanji, Seoul, bringing a smattering of world famous DJs, far too much vodka redbull, and just the right number of Koreans dressed up as Oompa Loompas. It was the final Global Gathering of the year worldwide and the final festival blow-out before we all start to hibernate while continuously bitching about the cold.

The two main international headliners were Digitalism and Groove Armada, although many people were also keen to see other major acts such as British rapper Example.  I missed the latter performer, making it to the festival just in time to see Digitalism, the German electro pop duo.  They showed so much energy at their relatively early set (6:50pm) that you could feel the atmosphere of the festival suddenly amp up considerably thanks to their infectious enthusiasm.  They kept the crowd rapt during their set by switching between DJing and vocal performances, with colourful digital hearts manifesting onto the screen behind them, adding a slice of kitsch Koreana to the European vibe of the music.  Their long performance culminated with an euphoric version of the hit ‘Pogo’, leaving the crowd palpably wanting more.

Groove Armada failed to make an enormous impression on me, mostly due to my lack of interest in their records rather than because they performed inadequately.  In comparison, I was again thoroughly impressed with Korean electro house musicians Idiotape, this being the second time I’ve seen them live (they had previously played at The Creators Project).  Idiotape were a huge crowd pleaser, creating the mood of a collective high and completely packing out the Blue Spirit tent: entry to their show meant waiting in a one-in-one-out line.

Although the price tag attached to the festival was enough to make any frugal expat squeamish, in the end it was definitely worth it.  The only complaint that could be made is that the acts we were eager to see were on too early. I missed native electro house band Glen Check and only caught a bit of thriving Hongdae band The KOXX, meaning that as soon as it got to about 10pm there was a sense of an anti-climax with about 6 hours of the festival left.  Still, I danced bravely on, witnessing some new acts and staying until 4am before being kicked out of the park, drenched in exhilaration from what ended up being one of the best parties I’ve been to this year in Korea.

What did you think of Global Gathering Korea? What were your favourite acts?


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