‘Hi Seoul’ fest kicks off at City Hall tomorrow

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‘Hi Seoul’ fest kicks off at City Hall tomorrow

Ever since the 2002 World Cup, the public plaza at City Hall hasn’t been the same. After the games, the city government seemed to really make a visible effort to take advantage of the space to provide leisure opportunities for the public. One of those efforts was to organize the “Hi Seoul Festival,” named after a slogan developed by the local government three years ago as part of the city’s “brand marketing.”
The annual event, which started in 2003, is taking place in central Seoul from tomorrow to Thursday.
The program begins tomorrow night at 7:30 at City Hall Plaza with a live concert by Cho Yong-pil, who is probably one of Korea's most beloved pop singers. Fireworks will light the sky as Cho sings his hit song, “Seoul, Seoul, Seoul,” which praises the beauty of Seoul’s streets. The concert will be followed by the ambitious artwork of Jean Michel Quesne, a French artist who will project light onto the City Hall building. The work, titled “W(ater). Motion,” is inspired by the restoration of the Cheonggyecheon.
One of the main events on Sunday, and probably the event’s highlight, is the citizens’ parade along Cheonggyecheon, a previously concreted-over stream currently undergoing restoration. The parade, which is from Sindap Bridge to Seoul Plaza, about 6.5 kilometers (4 miles), will be joined by citizens in wheelchairs near Beodeul Bridge.
Also on Sunday, starting at 1:30 p.m., various ethnic groups will set up booths in the city plaza. Each booth set up by different nations will offer food, performances and an exhibition by non-Korean children. From Sunday through Thursday, the public is invited to bring goods to sell at an open-air flea market along the walls of Deoksu Palace. The only condition is that the items be handmade.
At the World Cup Stadium from Tuesday through Saturday from 1 to 7 p.m., female soccer players from Korea, Japan, China and Russia will play friendly matches.
Throughout the week, the City Hall plaza will be the site of a variety of entertainment. On Monday, local actors will appear on stage there to present scenes from some hit musicals, including “42nd Street,” “The Last Empress” and “Rent.”
On Tuesday, young professional gamers will showcase locally produced games, to be followed by a gala concert of traditional pansori artists the next day.
The event will wrap up on Thursday with a concert by musicians from Korea, China and Japan.

by Park Soo-mee

For more information, call 02-3789-0266 or www.hiseoulfest.org.
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