중앙데일리

Free-spirited Hongdae still clubbers’ mecca

Aug 05,2005
Earlier this week, the police vowed to crack down on Hongdae clubs, following an incident of indecent exposure last Saturday by The Couch, an underground rock band from the Hongdae area, live on MBC-TV.
However, the Hongik University neighborhood, largely known for its rowdy clubs, remained vibrant and wild-spirited on Thursday night, while patrons say the area is still their haven for free expression and stress relief.
While no band members exposed themselves on Thursday night, outrageous acts were still in store. Various bands screamed into the microphone, jumping up and down in front of sweaty audiences, while one performer wound the wire from his microphone around his neck and bit down on his guitar.
“Here I can enjoy fresh performances by underground bands that I cannot see on TV,” said a 31-year-old office worker who requested anonymity.
“All my stress is gone while I am screaming and jumping in the club,” he added.
Clubgoers gather around Hongdae after the sun goes down. Around 7 p.m., people meet near the Hongdae subway station, and head to their favorite clubs and bars. The peak hour for performances at live clubs is usually 9 p.m.
From 11 p.m. on, clubgoers were packed in lines to enter dance clubs along the street stretching southward from the entrance to Hongik University. By 2 a.m., dance clubs were in full swing as patrons danced under pychedelic lights.
“Since the artists from Hongik University started to open bars with unique interiors 10 years ago, people with diverse musical tastes gathered here and established an atmosphere of freedom,” said Jang Sung-chan, president of the Hongdae Club Association.
“Young people come here because they can fully enjoy a day while having only 10,000 or 20,000 won.”
However, some worry the culture of Hongdae may have been too commercialized.
In one dance club, a man and woman in their 20s danced together in moves that one clubgoer, who has been a patron of Hongdae for five years, described only as sexual.
“As many men try to find their partner in clubs, the unique culture of Hongdae seems to be losing its color,” she said.
Nevertheless, many of those out on Thursday headed home at 5 a.m. the next day.


by Sohn Hae-yong


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