UQjLLYEbKrWMqRZUOzrC.jpgSummer is festival season in Korea, with cities rolling out the welcome mats and showing off local culture.    From celebrations of celadon to music festivals to theatrical gatherings, this summer offers plenty of ways to immerse yourself in Korean culture and enjoy exciting international events.

The Gangjin Celadon Festival in the city of Gangjin, South Jeolla Province, celebrates one of Korea’s most representative handicrafts.  Korean celadon has long been treasured as one of the world’s finest ceramic products, and Gangjin has long been one of the centers of production for the mysterious blue-grey porcelain, which first came to Korea in the 8th century.  From August 7 to 15, visitors can learn about Korea’s cultural and craft history while immersing themselves in the beautiful scenery of Korea’s southern coast. (Left: The Gangjin Celadon Festival offers hands-on pottery workshops (Yonhap))

The festival offers visitors a chance to get up close and personal with this Goryeo-period treasure, with kiln demonstrations, hands-on workshops on throwing and glazing pottery, exhibitions of ancient pieces and a floating parade in the harbor.  There are also a number of cultural performances and contests, including a K-pop song contest for foreign students, an auction, and an agricultural “grandmother’s market” to let people interact with area’s charming elders.

The festival is one of the most popular in the country, and has been declared a festival of excellence by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

One of the highlights of the festival is a recreation of a Goryeo-era ship for exporting local porcelain to other parts of Korea, Japan, China and even further abroad.  The “treasure ship” allows tourists to directly experience and learn about Korean trade and craft history.  For more information on the Gangjin Celadon Festival, please visit their homepage at http://gangjinfes.or.kr/

Those with a more musical turn of mind should take a trip to the Great Mountains Music Festival, running from July 25 to Aug. 13 at the Alpensia Resort near Pyeongchang in Gangwon Province.  This music festival also functions as a school for rising classical talents, and features concerts by some of the world’s most celebrated artists, including Myung-Wha and Kyung-wha Chung, who also serve as the festival’s artistic directors, violinist and conductor Joel Smirnoff, cellist Sangmin Park, pianist Kevin Kenner and vocalist Attila Jun.

The festival includes both master classes and concerts for the general public, making it a perfect outing for classical music enthusiasts.  For more information, please visit the festival and school website at http://gmmfs.com/  (Below: A performance at the Jechon International Music and Film Festival (Yonhap))

  If your tastes are a bit broader, try the Jecheon International Music and Film Festival.  From Aug, 11 to 16, this festival brings in a wide variety of films and performances to the beautiful Jecheon Lake area.  Focusing on the connections between cinema and music, the festival features concerts by Chinese-American shakuhachi master Riley Lee, the folk music of Ondal, the rebellious sounds of Look & Listen and the quirky band Broccoli, you too.

OLTHaEoELokXfYTtmSHW.jpgThe festival also includes a huge variety of films, from family films to its Korean shorts series.  Many of the films concentrate, especially its CineSymphony selections, focus on music and musicians, such as the opening film, Jim Kohlberg’s “The Music Never Stopped.”  For more information, please visit the festival homepage at http://www.jimff.org/ (Right:  Poster for the Keochang International Festival of Theater (Yonhap))

Theater lovers should head to Gochang County in South Gyeongsang Province for the exciting Keochang International Festival of Theatre from July 29 to Aug. 13.  Featuring 42 theatrical groups from 10 countries, the festival puts on open-air productions to allow visitors the chance to experience both first-rate theatrical productions and the astounding beauty of the countryside.

For large-scale events, nothing beats the Gyeongju World Culture Expo in North Gyeongsang Province, which will take place from Aug. 12 to October 10.  This year, the major festival is expected to attract more than a million visitors in conjunction with the Daegu World Athletic Championships.  Featuring everything from films to exhibitions to plays, the festival concentrates on bringing to life the spirit of the Silla Kingdom’s Hwarang warriors. 
From circuses to B-boys to song and dance competitions, the Gyeongju World Culture Expo has something for everyone, but one of the highlights is a specially commissioned version of the hit musical “Miso” set in the Silla Dynasty, called “Land of the Gods, Silla.”  Gyeongju was the capital of the Silla Kingdom for nearly a millennium, and this period piece helps bring the ancient era to life. 


by Jennifer Flinn
Korea.net English Editor and Staff Writer


[Source : Korea.net]