I was speaking to an acquaintance recently about the 7th Seoul Jazz Festival. He was at an impasse “as an adult” about whether to spend the long weekend in May at a jazz festival or stick with his usual choice of the , which is on the same weekend. Initially, this seems like an easy choice between two very distinct genres of music, yet the SJF has much more to offer than the festivals name implies.

Last year’s festival headliners included r&b, soul, and jazz acts Earth, Wind & Fire, George Benson and Eric Benet. This year the powers that be seem to have pulled out all of the stops to appeal to a more diverse group of music lovers to coincide with their slogan Jazz UP your soul. The acts this year span not only multiple genres, but also the divide between classic and contemporary. On the third weekend in May established performers such as Ramsey Lewis and Roy Hargrove will appear alongside many other jazz, folk, pop, rock, and indie acts. Some other names gracing the stage in Olympic Park include Mika, Damien Rice, Rodrigo y Gabriela and Kings of Convenience.

In my opinion the decision, adult or otherwise, is a very easy one: I would rather spend my weekends in spring relaxing in a beautiful park with amazing live acts performing around me. The festival is on Friday, May 17th and Saturday, May 18th (Friday is a Korean national holiday so you don’t need to factor in your working hours when buying a ticket). It should be a great warm-up for the Sigur Ros show on the Sunday, which will be at Olympic Park Stadium.

Tickets for the 7thSeoul Jazz Festival are available through Interpark and will run you 121,000won for a 1-day ticket and 175,000 won for the 2-day pre-sale pass. English info can be found on promoters Private Curve’s website. For more music festivals, here’s a list of six that we can’t wait for.

Written by Colleen Whately