William Joseph Leitzman

Ever since I moved to South Korea I’ve noticed a heavy amount of Seoul-centralism when it comes to art, music and other creative ventures. Things that happens in Seoul, especially creative things, get much more attention than the same activities happening outside of it. This is not an unusual occurrence; growing up in England, I know I saw the same with London, and I’m sure those who live outside of New York, Paris and Tokyo could tell a similar story.

Despite having only lived here for four short years I’ve seen a lot of great events and excellent creative ventures in Daegu, Busan and Ulsan. There have been well-known bands from abroad putting on superb shows supported by new and old local acts that have been just as good, and sometimes better, than the headliners. There are wonderful artists and photographers putting on exhibitions in strange and interesting places. Not to mention all the theatre troupes and dance groups — if your tastes lean that way. For every creative person from abroad that returns home at the end of a contract or every young Korean male who goes off to do their mandatory military service, there are always new intakes and young locals starting fresh ventures to take their place.

One can spend their weekends trekking up to Seoul, but there is also just as much good stuff happening down south, too. Here’s a quick guide to each city.

Busan

Band & Venue: are one of the most promising and exciting bands in South Korea at the moment, simple, energetic and full of melody. They can usually be found playing at The Basement near PNU, or near KSU, both university districts.

Artist & Art Space: Eun-ju & Dealma are two artists who make incredible work together as and AGIT Indie Art Space near Jangjeong-dong plays host to artist residencies, a recording studio, exhibitions and parties.

Where: Depends how drunk you want to get. Level-one drunk? PNU; level-five drunk? KSU. Both can be found via the subway stops.

Anything else? Beyond Garage, a new space built in an old warehouse from the late ’60s, is right beside the docks in Joongang-dong and will be hosting music and art events very soon.

Daegu

November On Earth

Band & Venue: If you like quiet, understated post-rock, then are your bag. Young kids putting their love of lush soundscapes to use they’ll be soundtracking your favourite movie before you know it.  in the downtown area doesn’t look like a music venue it has been putting on shows for some years.

Artist & Art Space: are a foreigner duo and two of the brains behind the wonderful . One can buy crafts from them and other local artists at .

Where: Away from downtown, Keimyung University’s Daemyeong-Dong Campus holds many secrets, from long-running venue to the independent bookshop . Also the best neighbourhood to pick up music and/or art supplies.

Anything else? Ongoing since 2008, the get national coverage for their plays and run everything from full performances to workshops for Korean children and monologue challenges.

Ulsan

Band & Venue: are one of a number of new bands that have broken away from playing covers and have started to write their own material. New, friendly bar hosts shows every month from the crew.

Artist & Art Space: is a hugely talented artist who studied in London for five years. She’s now part of a group of talented young Koreans who are creating new events to bring culture to the masses.

Where: The old downtown area of Seongnam-dong has recently been given a cash boost, which it has used to awesomize its long-neglected streets with theatre venues, art galleries and good cafes.

Anything else? The annual  in October is free, full of good foods from around the world and the best Korean and international acts. Did I mention it’s free?

Whatever your interests there is something great happening outside of Seoul and supporting both Korean and foreign local culture here, whether it be art, music or theatre will in turn create and foster more great local culture and enrich everyone’s lives.

Event Poster

On Saturday April 26th, [b]racket Magazine, I Like Many Records and Angle Magazine (a monthly art zine, gig promoter and bilingual audio/visual website, respectively), are coming together to throw a festival that will showcase some of the best talent that we have in the south. The Big Day South festival will bring together artists, musicians, dancers and spoken word from Ulsan, Daegu and Busan to play at two important venues in Daegu.

With the Big Day South festival, we want to showcase the creativity, talent and beauty outside of Seoul, to challenge the notion that in Korea, if something cannot be found in the capital, then it probably doesn’t exist anywhere in the country. [b]racket Magazine, I Like Many Records and Angle Magazine feel that a festival would be a great way to disprove that assumption. We also did not want to exclude any nationality from this event but rather try, as we do in our daily ventures, to bridge the gap between Koreans and foreigners. Both groups have an immense amount of talent and cultural or language barriers need not hold us back from enjoying or engaging in the creative endeavors of either group.

It’s nice when the people come together. I hope you’ll join us.

Where: Social Market (midday-4pm) and Club Urban (5pm-late).

When: Saturday April 26th.

How much: 15,000 won for a day ticket. Concessions will be available for those wanting to enjoy just one of the venues.

Tickets: T. Morning Café, which is currently showcasing recent illustrations from Daegu artist Brandon Inman, will be open from 10am on the day of the festival for a chance to grab that all important morning caffeine as well as a fresh bite to eat. Tickets will also be available to buy on the day.

PLUS: The first 70 people to buy all-day tickets at Social Market will receive a wonderful screenprinted poster from [b]racket magazine’s very talented MESH Printing crew.

Jess Hinshaw

Words: Ali Safavi
Images: Cover image of Yamagata Tweakster by Min Kim.
From top: Artwork by William Joseph Leitzman; November on Earth by Ali Safavi; official event poster; and screenprint by Jess Hinshaw.