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Hi Seoul Festival Draws Attention to Traditional Palaces Updated: 2008-05-09 12:00:00 KST

Hi Seoul Festival Draws Attention to Traditional Palaces
The Hi Seoul Festival is currently underway here in the capital.
Marking its SIXTH year, the event this time around seeks to highlight old palaces in the city.
Kim Youngwon has some of the flamboyant sights and the sounds to match.
Centuries old palaces are seeing a good number of visitors this May thanks to the Hi Seoul Festival.
What used to be only a May event is now scheduled to take place every season beginning this year.
This spring, the theme is ''gung,'' or ''palaces''.

[INTERVIEW : Ahn Eunme, Artistic Director of Spring Festival 2008] ''The palaces showcase the history of Seoul. So we thought it would be a great change to breathe some life into them to show our traditions. It's a festival where visitors take part and feel like royalty in the palaces.''

At Duksoo Palace, one of the five palaces where events take place, instead of the watch-and-walk exhibits in dull buildings, visitors can enjoy touching audio-visual artworks.
Here, Korea's representative works of flat and silent paper become motion pictures.

[INTERVIEW : Yoon Jieun, Student] ''Since these traditional works meet media art, we can hear the sound and it's vivid and lively.''

And outdoors, a daily concert entertains visitors with fusion performances of traditional music with a cappella, beat boxing and even break-dancing.
For those unfamiliar to local tradition, it is an interesting experience.

[INTERVIEW : Pascal Enz, Visitor from Switzerland] ''I wanted to visit a friend in Seoul and I decided to come now - the first week of May - because of the festival. It's really great. I've seen concerts and other places. And I'm impressed because everything is for free. It's really good music and good organized.''

And at nearby Gyeonghee Palace, the historical musical ''The Last Empress'' played before a full house on a weekday evening.

In addition to the five palaces, a virtual palace is open at City Hall and concerts and performances take place there every night.

''I like the drums, the traditional drums. I feel it's very energetic and has lots of energy of life. I like it very much.''

Taking place on three different stages, the shows are lively and visitors cheer and dance along.

''The spring part of the festival continues until this Sunday, for those who haven't visited yet. It's a great opportunity to see another side of Korea's traditions, and a nice chance to get a good walk.

Kim Youngwon, Arirang News.''
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