Over the past few years Korea has picked up the pace when it comes to festivals and events. Last year alone saw the likes of Skrillex, David Guetta, Gotye, Crystal Castles, Tiesto, Akon, Radiohead, and Maroon 5 blast the speakers in Korea. Both Elton John and Dr.Dre would have been added to that list if it weren’t for last minute cancellations.

As Korea becomes more internationally recognised by musicians, more and more are set to choose it as a venue. This makes 2013 certainly a year to look forward to in terms of festivals and events.

Below are a few of the musical highlights and events you can look forward to.

Rainbow Island Music & Camping Festival


When : 7th – 9th June
Where : Nami Island
Price : Early bird ticket 99,000 won for 3 days entry (camping is extra and it’s 143,000 won full price ticket)
Website : rainbowfestival.co.kr

The main drawing point for this festival is its location– the beach. Spread over 3 days, you can camp and relax whilst listening to the chilled out sounds of the live acts. Travis, Nell and Idiotape are headlining, and those who attended last year have said the festival was fun and laidback.

Pentaport Rock Festival


When : 2nd – 4th August
Where : Incheon
Price : TBA (2012 was 165,000 Won for 3 days & 77,000 Won for 1 day). Tickets sold from April 23rd.
Website : pentaportrock.com

In the past, Pentaport Rock Festival has played second fiddle to Jisan, but last year they chose to quit jostling with one another and opted for different weekends. 2012’s festival featured Manic Street Preachers, Ash, Snow Patrol and Crystal Castles as well as a number of other lesser-known acts. The previous years have seen B.O.B, Plain White T’s, Ting Tings, Korn, Ian Brown, Pendulum and Stereophonics. While the acts might not be typical headliners back home, you can be sure to experience a typical festival environment with camping and drinking all the same. Plus it’s half the price of Ansan. This year Fall Out Boy are headlining and other acts include Blood Red Shoes and Skid Row. .

Global Gathering Korea

global gathering

When : Sat October 12
Where: TBA (2012 was at Caribbean Bay, Suwon but the venue has changed every year)
Price : Early bird tickets from MUV http://www.muv.co.kr/pre/main.muv for 66,000 won
Website : globalgatheringkorea.co.kr

Global Gathering may be the last festival you’ll be attending in 2013 due to it’s timing, so enjoy the end of fall at one of the best electro parties of the year. Global Gathering is a hugely popular U.K. dance festival, and although not capable of attracting the same list of stars as the original event back home (much like UMF Korea) they’ve still managed to party hard every time. Last year Global Gathering showed off the talents of David Guetta, Jaguar Skills, Orbital & London Elektricity as well as the Korean electro duo Shut Da Mouth. Previous years have seen Groove Armada, Justice, Digitalism, Roni Size & Example rule the roost. This year the initial lineup release is Fatboy Slim and Porter Robinson.

Boombap Trohh Hip-Hop and Dubstep Festival


When: 6th – 8th September
Where: Incheon Songdo
Price: 55,000 won for one day; 77,000 won for two (will go up)
Website: http://boombaptrohh.com/

Boombap Trohh is a festival headlined by rapper of the moment, A$AP Rocky. Supporting are local hip-hop and dubstep acts such as the Bass Attack crew, Team Boner, Buggy, Babynine and Deepflow, among others. The second lineup will be released soon, but until the 26th of July you can get discount weekend passes for the Incheon Songdo event for 77,000 won. This is the inaugural festival! Support!

Super!Sonic Festival

When : 14th – 16th August
Where : Olympic Stadium
Price : 2-day earlybird pass W140,000
Website : supersonickorea.com

If the name rings a bell it’s because it’s similar to one of Japan’s biggest rock festivals. Last year Summer!Sonic decided to head to Korea with a slight title change. Although the tickets are pricier than most of the other festivals around, Super!Sonic did manage to bring the insanely popular Gotye, as well as a few other big names like New Order, Smashing Pumpkins, Gym Class Heroes, Soulwax and Basement Jaxx. Their second year in Seoul sees Pet Shop Boys, Two Door Cinema Club, 10cm, Cho Yong-Pil and Dickpunks on the first line-up release. Early Bird tickets will be sold through Super Sonic’s official website on 5/15.

UMF Korea


When : 14th – 15th June
Where : Jamsil Sports Complex, Olympic Stadium
Price : 110,000 Won for 1 day. Buy tickets from March 3rd on Interpark.
Website: http://www.umfkorea.com/

Last year UMF made its debut in Korea and it was a total success. Skrillex, Tiesto and Carl Cox headlined whilst Korean act Shut Da Mouth rocked the house equally as hard.

With Armin Van Buuren, Carl Cox and Avicii already announced, you can be sure to witness a pulsating electronic vibe. More acts are set to follow, and this one looks likely to be one of the best dance festivals 2013 has in store.

Ansan Valley Rock Festival (previously Jisan Valley Rock Festival)


When : 26th – 28th July
Where : Ansan
Price : Earlybird tickets can be bought for W200,000 from Interpark on April 4th at 11am, 2013. Limited tickets. Full price tickets will be W260,000.
Website : valleyrockfestival.com

Having been previously located in Jisan for 4 years, the rock festival of Korea has been moved to Ansan. The new location promises better infrastructure, accommodation, camping grounds and facilities. Of course this means a bigger crowd capacity as well.

With a larger capacity and a bigger budget you should be expecting to see some of the biggest and best foreign artists as they intend to build on the previous years’ success. Nine Inch Nails, The XX and Coheed and Cambria were the first big international acts on the line-up release and The Cure, Foals, Stereophonics, Skillrex, Vampire Weekend, My Bloody Valentine and Yellowcard have been added! This should be the festival you pencil into your diary right away.

A quick reference guide calendar:

7th-9th Jun – Rainbow Island Music & Camping Festival
14th-15th Jun – UMF Korea
21st-22nd Jul – Green Groove Festival
26th-28th Jul – Ansan Valley Rock Festival
2nd-4th Aug – Pentaport Rock Festival
14th-15th Aug – Super!Sonic Festival
6th-8th Sep – Boombap Trohh
12 Oct – Global Gathering Korea

Dates and prices are subject to change. We’ll try to keep this updated. Let us know if there are any festivals you feel are missing from the list in the comments section. For more upcoming events head to our Seoul Events post.

Written by Simon Flood – read his blog!
Photographs from Devan Meserve, , Simon Flood, , Mike Beech, Mixtribe, and Tor.