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Jisan Valley Rock Festival Draws Tens of Thousands of Fans Updated: 2011-08-01 00:00:00 KST

It is hot, it is humid, but visitors excitedly explored every corner of this valley, enjoying the view, the crowd, and the music.
This is the Jisan Valley Rock Festival, one of the biggest and arguably the most prestigious music event held in Korea every year.
Held at a resort in the city of Icheon, Gyeonggi Province, the three-day music fest opened on Friday.


"Four stages have been set up for 74 international and local bandsand organizers are expecting that the number of visitors to the festival will jump by 30% this year."

Performances took place from the afternoon until well into the early morning for those looking to dance through the night.
And for visitors looking to save some money while also enjoying the nature, an entire hillside next to the main stage was turned into a camping site, where hundreds of tents were put up.


[Interview : Joshua Mcclain, English teacher] "It's mostly for the music, but also it's nice to be outside camping. It's the middle of the summer so I hate to be cooped up inside just doing nothing. This is much better."


[Interview : Connor Griffiths, English teacher] "It's a tradition in Britain. If you go to a festival, you've got to camp. It's the whole festival experience."

Although international acts were slated to highlight all three days, including the Chemical Brothers, Arctic Monkeys, and Suede,… Korean band Crash heated up the stage on Friday, while Korean hip hop group DJ DOC stirred up the festive mood on the festival'’s opening day.
And more fans gathered on Saturday, hoping to listen to the live performances of their favorite bands.


[Interview : Kim Ji-un, Seoul resident] "It's so much fun. I'm glad that we have these kinds of music events here in Korea. I want to come back next year. I'm looking forward to seeing UV and Jaurim tonight."


[Interview : Camila Ugarte, English Teacher] "I actually really enjoyed Chemical Brothers but I'm looking forward to seeing Incubus even though they're not headliner."

Other than having top Korean artists performing, as well as those from the United States, United Kingdom, and Japan, the venue itself was special since the resort is located in the heart of well-preserved nature.


[Interview : Cho Yong-bae, Global Business Gr. Manager
CJ E&M] "The Ministry of Environment designated the event as a green rock festival. Therefore, we aim to keep the nature around us clean and well-preserved while offering different programs and activities."

And as an increasing number of people at the festival stayed up late to mingle with the other concertgoers, a new stage this year called the Hype Stage was set up where music started at 11 p.m. and continued until four in the morning, which is why this was perfect as a vacation trip for rock music fans.


[Interview : Seo Hang-eun, Seoul resident] "I came with my friend because this festival is so well known and I plan to have a good time here all night long. It's hot, but the atmosphere and energy here is great and there are many other events to enjoy."

But they are not the only ones who wait for this time of year to come around.
For indie rock bands, Jisan Valley Rock Festival is the place they aim to play at, since it is a good opportunity for them to introduce their music to a huge crowd.


[Interview : Nine, Lead singer
Dear Cloud] "We've been working and preparing to play at a festival like this for six years. When we started playing our first song, I was so happy and it was good to see the audience enjoy our music."


[Interview : Oh do-ham, Lead singer
Pavlov] "I'm glad that we got to come here free of charge and I also hope that us being here helps give us, as well as other indie rock artists, more opportunities to play rock music."

Rock is not a widely-loved genre to most Koreans and has been struggling to gain increased popularity here, since it gets less exposure than local pop acts… and there is still a bit of a negative stigma attached to it.


[Interview : Ahn Heung-chan, Lead singer
Crash] "Many people say that rock music is difficult, but this is mainly because it gets little air time on TV. And because we tend to have long hair and look different, people were negligent towards what we do, but there are so many touching songs and through these events we have the chance to share our music with a large crowd."

Therefore, visitors, as well as performers, hope that festivals like this will help promote the genre of music and further support the indie rock scene to develop Korea's rock music industry.


[Interview : Yohan, Lead singer
Pia] "We've been preparing and making efforts for this day and we're looking forward to going up on stage and having fun, since many people came here to enjoy rock music."


[Interview : Kim-bum, Bassist
Pia] "We mostly get to familiarize the general public with rock music through these concerts, so we'll do our best to put on as many good shows as we can."


[Interview : Nine, Lead singer
Dear Cloud] "Instead of differentiating rock music as a specific genre of music and if you try to listen to it like other songs it will seem a lot easier. I hope more people become interested in rock."

[STUDIO]
It looks like the valley was packed with visitors.
I didn't know that so many people go to these kind of outdoor rock festivals.
They sure know how to have fun.

And I found what indie rock bands had to say about the Korean rock music industry quite interesting.
How there aren't enough venues or opportunities for rock bands to play their music and how less TV exposure affects their career as musicians.

Right.
And there is the Pentaport Rock Festival coming up at the end of this week and I am looking forward to another wildly successful event.
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