Second annual festival promises citywide funA laser light show, rock concerts and a street parade are among the highlights promised for the second annual Hi Seoul Festival, whose main venues will be the new grassy plaza outside City Hall, several palaces and World Cup Park.
City leaders devised the festival last year to illuminate Seoul’s dynamic personality and 600-year history, and to create a parade they hoped would become a Seoul tradition. Events will run from Monday to May 9, during the daytime as well as after dark.
The festivities will climax with the parade, which starts at Dongdaemun Stadium at 3 p.m. on May 9 and proceeds to City Hall. But a serious party will take place the night before. Dubbed “White Night,” it gets going at 8 p.m. May 8 outside City Hall, with a 3-D laser light show against the outside of the building. Rock concerts and a fashion show by Andre Kim will also be featured that night; the lineup includes Korean pop artists Baby V.O.X, Shinhwa and Jewelry, as well as a percussion show by cast members from “Nanta.”
The public can get swinging by partaking in a mass dance known as ganggangsulae, which involves whirling around in circles, hand in hand. To cap things off, fireworks will turn the night sky ablaze with color while indie bands crank out music until 1:30 a.m.
Even when the fun’s over at City Hall, it’s still not really over. Avid spectators can hop over to after-hours White Night events in other parts of the city: Myeong-dong, Jongno, Insa-dong and Dongdaemun.
In front of the Unesco building in Myeong-dong, British deejays like Eddie Halliwell ― plus some of Korea’s most popular spinners ― will get folks shaking for a nightlong street dance party. In front of Korea First Bank in Jongno, spectators can soak up a mixed bag of entertainment, including African traditional dance, sports dance, a magic show, classical music and mime. On the streets of Insa-dong, meanwhile, Korea’s traditional mask dance will hold sway, not surprisingly. And in front of the Doota fashion mall in the Dongdaemun district, percussion shows and jazz performances will reign.
Throughout the festival, palaces and museums will stay open late, and hotels, duty-free shops and restaurants will offer discounts. Stores in Myeong-dong, Namdaemun, Itaewon and Dongdaemun are registered to give out discounts.
Along the Deoksu Palace walls near City Hall on May 8 and 9, Beautiful Store, a charity flea market, will exhibit and sell crafts made by young artists. Objects made of recycled goods will also be displayed.
On the afternoon of May 9, in front of City Hall, 1,000 spectators will be given a chance to participate in a tug-of-war. Capping off this huge citywide hoedown will be exotic dance performances by troupes from 10 foreign countries.
by Park Hyun-young