Groove Korea’s guide to upcoming spring, summer fests
Story By: Emma Kalka
Spring has come to Korea and with summer soon to follow, it is officially festival season in the country. No matter what you’re interested in – be it food, music or traditional culture – there is a bit of something for everyone.
There are those for families, those for club-goers and even those for lovers of beer and fried chicken.
Read on to find the perfect festival for you
Mungyeong Traditional Chasabal Festival – April 28-May 7
Started in 1999, the Mungyeong Traditional Chasabal Festival takes place at the Mungyeong Open Set Center in Mungyeong City, known for its long-held tradition of making ceramic tea cups, known as chasabal in Korean. The 19th edition of the festival will operate under the theme “Dream of Mungyeong CHASABAL! Captures the world!” The festival centers on showing visitors the city’s pride in this traditional practice, which uses the sandy soil of the region.
Throughout the festival there will be live performances of music and traditional dances, along with demonstrations of how tea cups are made, including opportunities for visitors to make their own as well as take part in traditional tea ceremonies.
Ticket Information: Adults – 5,000 won; Children/Teens (age 7-18) – 3,000 won
Address: 36, Saejae 2-gil, Mungyeong-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do
Damyang Bamboo Festival – May 5-7
Since the Goryeo Dynasty, Juksal Day has been celebrated in May according to the Lunar calendar and was a day to plant bamboo in the Damyang area. As time passed, the tradition waned and other local holidays were added. In 1993, the current iteration of the Damyang Bamboo Festival was born. The festival works to revive the old tradition of Juksal Day and planting bamboo. Set in and around a tranquil bamboo forest, the festival boasts various activities from a Bamboo Fair to a Bamboo Musical Instrument Performance Contest, Bamboo-cutting Sword Championship, Writing and Painting Competition, fishing, raftering and the opportunity to make daetongsul, or a bamboo bottle traditional liquor.
Ticket Information: Some activities and sites may require admission fees
Address: 119, Jungnogwon-ro, Damyang-gun, Jeollanam-do
Miryang Arirang Festival – May 17-20
While there are many versions of the traditional folk song Arirang, it has been listed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2012. The Miryang Arirang Festival – set at the Yeongnamru Pavilion and other areas of the Miryang riverside – celebrates this song and it history through various activities such as performances, parades and programs, even educating visitors on the three major regional versions of the song – Miryang Arirang, Jeongsan Arirang and Jindo Arirang.
Ticket Information: N/A
Address: 324, Jungang-ro, Miryang-si, Gyeongsangnam-do
Boseong Green Tea Festival – May 18-22
Held every May on the Boseong Tea Planation in the hills of Hwalseong Mountain, the Green Tea Festival boasts of the area’s pride of being the largest tea producer and the center of the tea industry in Korea. There are a variety of events held, including the ritual held for the Tea God to pray for a good harvest, picking tea leaves, making tea and the Tea Lady Contest. It is known as the representative tea festival in Korea. There will also be several exhibitions focusing on green tea.
Ticket Information: N/A
Address: 775, Nokcha-ro, Boseong-gun, Jeollanam-do
Sinchon Water Gun Festival – July 7-8
For two days every summer, the streets of Sinchon will become a giant water battlefield. The Sinchon Water Gun Festival is set to take place again and includes an opening ceremony, concert, DJs, and – of course – the water gun fight. There will be a special family zone with activities for kids, as well as the water gun zone and a giant water slide. You can buy water guns at the festival or bring your own.
Ticket Information: Not released at publication
Address: Sinchon Station
Buyeo Seodong Lotus Festival – July 6-15
Set in Gungnamji in Seodong Park in Buyeo, the Buyeo Seodang Lotus Festival celebrates the beauty of the lotus flower as well as encouraging the preservation of wild flowers. The festival includes a large number of activities centered on the flower including making paper lotuses, making lotus soap, and making jewelry from lotus flowers. There will also be a number of performances, concerts, a night parade, an opening ceremony and exhibitions.
Shuttle buses will be offered around Buyeo that will go directly to the festival grounds.
Ticket Information: Free (fees may apply to some activities)
Address: 52, Gungnam-ro, Buyeo-gun, Chungcheongnam-do
Jangheungjin Jeongnamjin Water Festival – July 27-Aug. 2
Those hoping to escape the summer heat may want to check out the Jangeungjin Jeongnamjin Water Festival set around the Jangheung Tamjin River and the Pyeonbaek Forest Woodland in Jangheung County. Held every year, the festival offers something a bit different from other traditional festivals, with a number of summer and water-related events and activities. There will be fireworks, a laser show, water fights, a natural medicinal herb healing pool, hand fishing and various other exhibitions, performances and programs throughout.
Ticket Information: Free (Certain activities involve fees)
Address: 21, Jangheung-ro, Jangheung-gun, Jeollanam-do
Boryeong Mud Festival – July 13-22
Quite possibly the largest global summer festival in Korea, the Boryeong Mud Festival is returning for its 20th edition this July. Set in the town of Boryeong on Daecheon Beach, the festival centers around the local mud that is said to have many cosmetic benefits. Every year, the fest offers a large variety of activities and events from mud baths to mud body painting, mud slides, Mudflat Games, street parades, yachting, concerts and more.
Ticket Information: Adult – (Mon-Thu) 10,000 won, (Fri-Sun) 12,000 won; Kids – (Mon-Thu) 8,000 won, (Fri-Sun) 11,000 won (more information available on website)
Address: 897-15, Daehae-ro, Boryeong-si, Chungcheongnam-do
Muju Firefly Festival – Sept. 1-9
As a natural habitat for fireflies, Muju offers this enchanted festival every year with many attractions and activities. There will be traditional performances, exhibitions, hands-on experiences and chances to learn more about fireflies and marsh snails, which fireflies feed off of. But the best part of the festival comes after the sun goes down when thousands of fireflies light up the sky.
This is the 22nd edition of the festival and this year it was named one of the country’s best festivals by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Ticket Information: N/A
Address: 326-17, Hanpungnu-ro, Muju-gun, Jeollabuk-do
Arts & Entertainment
Chuncheon International Mime Festival – May 20-27
Billed as one of the biggest mime festivals in the world, the Chuncheon International Mime Festival will include performances from all over the world, all focusing on body, movement and image. The performances will take place throughout downtown Chucheon, Festival Theater Momzit, Animation Museum, Seumsup Park and Waterfront Park. There will also be a flea market at the event.
Tickets: 20,000 won
Address: 112, Chuncheon-ro, Chuncheon-si, Gangwon-do
Daegu Chimac Festival – July 18-22
On the back of Korea’s love affair with fried chicken and beer, the Daegu Chimac Festival is returning this year, billed as the “mecca for chicken and beer lovers across the nation.” It brought in over 800,000 guests in 2013 and 1 million in 2016, making it once of the biggest festivals in Korea. The festival will take place in Duryu Park in Daegu and includes live cultural performances and music. While it is open to all ages, only those aged 19 or older can purchase alcohol.
Ticket Information: Free
Address: 36, Gongwonsunhwan-ro, Dalseo-gu, Daegu
Comic Con Seoul – Aug. 3-5
It’s back. After it’s debut last year, Comic Con Seoul is returning to COEX this summer, expanding to three days. Last year brought stars Steven Yeun and Mads Mikkelsen, so who knows who will show up this year. Entertainment guests have yet to be announced, but there will be an artist alley, merchandise booths, food, shows, panels and a cosplay contest. Stay tuned to the con’s social media pages for updates on tickets, entertainment guests and even more.
Ticket Information: One-day – 25,000-27,000 won; Two-day – 40,000 won; Three-day – 50,000 won (Info on Star Pass coming soon)
Address: 513, Yeongdong-daero, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Chuncheon Dalkgalbi & Makkuksu Festival – Aug. 28-Sept.
A local festival introducing the delicacies of Chuncheon, the Chuncheon Dalkgalbi & Makkuksu Festival is sure to be a scrumptious feast. The area is well known for its dalkgalbi (spicy stir-fried chicken) and makkuksu (spicy buckwheat noodles). The festival will offer various events like Korean wrestling, a gag concert, a ssireum contest, and a singing contest, as well as hands-on programs such as making traditional makkuksu.
Ticket information: N/A
Address: 1, Pyeonghwa-ro, Chuncheon-si, Gangwon-do
Sensation – May 5
Started in Amsterdam as a one-off event, Sensation has been dazzling the senses of EDM fans since 2000. The event was started to commemorate the life of ID&T co-founder Duncan Stutterheim’s brother Miles, who died tragically in a car accident. Rather than mourning in black, Duncan asked everyone to wear white – as had been done at his brother’s funeral. From there, the event exploded and now has 19 different themes and is held in stadiums and arenas all over the world.
Sensation Korea is a 19 and up event and everyone must wear all white (only excluding shoes and accessories) or they will be denied entry. The Korea edition will take place at Gocheok Sky Dome.
Lineup: Mr. White, Chocolate Puma, Dirty South, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, Dannic, Dash Berlin
Ticket Information: 132,000 won (Deluxe, VIP & Royal tickets also available)
Address: 430, Gyeongin-ro, Guro-gu, Seoul
GREENPLUGGED SEOUL – May 19-20
A unique festival in its own right, GREENPLUGGED SEOUL is returning for its eighth edition this spring. The fest combines attention to being eco-friendly, as well as good music from local acts set in the beautiful area around the Han River at Nanji Hangang Park. The festival has always prided itself in providing more than just music – it includes many booths selling eco-friendly products and information on various environmental programs, including its own desertification prevention program “40 Project.” It also pushes to be as environmentally friendly as possible.
Seven stages will provide a little something for everyone – hip-hop, R&B, rock, electronic and pop. The fest prides itself in putting together a balanced lineup that gives opportunities to talented, lesser known artists. Unlike other, bigger festivals, they allow folks to bring in their own food and coolers for picnics.
Lineup: MFBTY, Lucky Tapes, Moonchild, Will Joseph Cook, Ambition Musik, YB, Ssing Ssing, Life & Time, VMC, Indiotape, Zion.T, Standing Egg, and more.
Ticket Information: Two-day – 119,000 won; One-day – 70,000 won
Address: 162, Hangangnanji-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Seoul Jazz Festival – May 19-20
Returning for its 12th year, the Seoul Jazz Festival is set to take off at Olympic Park, bringing in some much sought-after artists to perform. While a large part of its lineup does focus on jazz, the festival has expanded over the years, including varying genres such as hip-hop and R&B. This year is no different with the famed Lauryn Hill headlining on Sunday and other foreign artists such as Jessi J, Kehlani and Iron & Wine gracing the stage.
Other artists include Epik High, Maceo Parker, Chris Botti, Gretchen Parlato, Roy Kim, Lee Hi, plus many, many more.
Lineup: Lauryn Hill, Jessi J, Kehlani, Iron & Wine, Epik High, Maceo Parker, Chris Botti, Gretchen Parlato, Roy Kim, Lee Hi, NELL, Lucid Fall Trio, Mama’s Gun, Hyukoh, Loyle Carner, Branford Marsilis Quartet, Arturo Sandaval & His All-Star Band, and more.
Ticket Information: One-Day – 155,000 won
Address: 424 Olympic-ro, Bangi-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul
Jarasum Folk Festival – May 19-20
Jarasum Island is set to be the gathering place for folk singers of all kinds this spring, with the Jarasum Folk Festival taking place. The fest says that it will feature warm spring weather combined with acoustic sounds to create an atmosphere for families, friends and lovers.
Lineup: Dongmulwon, Buldok Mansion, Shin Hyun-hee with Kim Root, Yoori Sangja, Lee Seung-yol, Han Dae-soo and more.
Ticket Information: Two-Day Pass – 99,000 won; One-Day Pass – 66,000 won
Address: Jaraseom Island, Gapyeong-eup, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do
World DJ Festival – May 26-27
Making its return to the festival lineup is Korea’s largest DJ festival – World DJ Festival. The festival is set to take over Jamsil Olympic Stadium for two days. It’s the second year of the festival after its seven-year hiatus. It initially started as a part of the Hi Seoul Festival back in 2007, but is now known as one of the top music festivals in the country, bringing in DJs from all over the world.
Lineup: Gryyfin, Oliver Nielson, Tobtok, Seven Lions, Julian Jordan X Tymen, Boys Noize, Porter Robinson, Matoma, Villain, and more.
Ticket Information: One-Day Free – 99,000 won; One-Day Sunday – 69,000 won; Two-Day – 139,000 won
Address: 29 Olympic Road 29, Songpa-gu Seoul
Rainbow Island Music & Camping Festival – June 2-3
Taking place in the serenity of Jarasum Island in Gyeonggi-do, Rainbow Island Music & Camping Festival bring music into nature, creating a relaxing and refreshing atmosphere for music and nature lovers to enjoy. It is known as Korea’s largest camping festival, providing various packages for groups of all sizes. Those who don’t own camping gear can rent it from the festival. The festival also provides shuttle buses from two locations in Seoul directly to the festival grounds and back.
Music-wise, there is a little bit of everything, from rock to pop, to reggae and hip-hop.
Lineup: Skull X Haha, Dynamic Duo, 10CM, Younha, Kingston Rudieska, Gogostar, Standing Egg, Tiger Disco, Rudepaper, Cherry Coke, and more.
Ticket Information: Entrance – Early Bird – 55,000 won, Regular – 88,000 won; Camping – Ground A (Site & Gear, 4 people) – 88,000 won, Ground B (Site & Gear, 2 people) – 66,000 won, Ground B (Site & Gear, 4 people) – 88,000 won; Shuttle Bus – 12,000 won
Address: Jaraseom Island, Gapyeong-eup, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do
DMZ Peace Train Music Festival – June 21-24
A new annual festival joining the summer lineup this year is the DMZ Peace Train Music Festival. The organizers are hoping to continue the thaw in inter-Korean tensions by hosting a symposium and music fest including many local indie and underground groups, as well as a few foreign acts.
Co-founded by Martin Elbourne, who works in booking for Glastonbury, and Lee Dong-yeon, a professor at Korea National University of the Arts, the festival will take place at Goseokjeong Pavilion in Cheorwon County.
Lineup: Crying Nut, Ssing Ssing, Kiha & the Faces, Jonathon Joyce, Jambinai, Colonel Mustard & the Dijon Five, and more
Ticket Information: Free
Address: 1825, Taebong-ro, Cheorwon-gun, Gangwon-do
5TARDIUM – July 7-8
Offering listeners a unique music opportunity, 5TARIUM bills itself as a surrealistic EDM festival that allows attendees to become a part of music and space. A unique layout, the festival is set up in a pentagon with five connected stages that literally surround the audience. The festival brings in 10 artists from five different EDM genres to play over two days. Sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, this year marks the festival’s fifth anniversary. The festival is only open to those 19 and older.
Lineup: Blasterjaxx, Cat Dealers, Head Hunterz, Netsky, Bryan Kearney, So What Not, and more.
Ticket Information: Early Bird One-Day Pass – 79,000 won; Season 1 One-Day Pass – 89,000 won; Premium One-Day Pass – 150,000 won
Address: To be announced…
Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival – Aug. 10-12
One of Korea’s largest summer festivals, Pentaport will be coming back this summer and sure to back the stages with top local and foreign talent. Past festivals have always brought a variety of music besides rock, with acts such as Dua Lipa, Bastille, Justice, Charli XCX and 5 Seconds of Summer appearing in last year’s festival, and Panic! At the Disco and Fall Out Boy headlining in the years before that.
Lineup and ticket information is to be announced in May.
World Club Dome Korea – Sept. 14-16
After a successful run last year, the world’s biggest club – World Club Dome – is returning to Korea this fall. So far, no information on the lineup or venue has been released, but pre-registration is up on the website. The first round of three-day early bird tickets have been sold out, but more will be made available at a later day. Watch the website and Facebook page for more information.