▲ Photos at top by Alpha Newberry, Photos at bottom by Chris Dwyer
Jeju’s Open Mic, which is usually held at the Haebyeon Concert Hall in Yongduam and is a popular event with both foreign and Korean residents alike, took to the high seas for the first time on July 23 for a night of music, drink, and camaraderie.
The Mir, a two-story cruise boat equipped with a restaurant, bar, and dance floor with stage, was filled to its 400-person capacity when it set sail at 7 p.m. from Dodu Harbor, near Iho Tewoo Beach. As the boat coasted along Jeju’s shoreline, attendees were treated with an eclectic array of entertainment by Jeju residents that consisted of bands, belly dancing, a body builder flexing his muscles, and even a K-pop dance routine among others.
The boat traversed the open sea for approximately an hour, but the party kept raging even when tethered to the shore with dancing that began at 10 p.m. and continued until 11:30 p.m.
“It was perfect,” said John Curtin during the party, who with his girlfriend Jessica Wise was a resident of Jeju for two years. For them, the event was more than just a boat ride; it was their last night on the island and an ideal situation to say goodbye to friends.
“[Many] people are leaving in the next three weeks,” said Wise during the event, “and a lot of people are in a similar boat [as us] — no pun intended — and here is our chance, our best friends … our whole crew [is here], but it is nice that … we were all able to hang out. A last hurrah.”
“There are so many people on the island that we know,” said Curtin. “We are not particularly close to all of them, but there are so many people we would want to say goodbye to or spend some time with,” and this event, like the Open Mic’s before hand caused quite a gathering of the expat community.
Open Mic M.C. and Organizer Jessie Dishaw with Jeju Furey Foundation Founder Dan Nabben came together to make this event possible. Nabben told The Jeju Weekly during a phone interview the day following the event that he came up with the idea after Swing Island, a swing dance club on Jeju, held a show on the Mir a month prior to his own. “If their doing it, we can do it,” said Nabben jovially.
Though, due to some miscommunication between the event organizers and the boat company, less money than originally expected was to be earned for the Jeju Furey Foundation, but this did not dampen Nabben’s spirits. “I fully intend to do it again, so many people had such a good time,” he said.
Still, money was raised for a disadvantaged Jeju family living in Iho village through an additional 1,000 won added to the 14,000 won tickets to late buys on the day of the Open Mic and through a raffle for cakes provided by Christine Miller, who runs a from-home bakery business, Jeju Cakes by Christine, on the island.
“I cannot express how generous Christine Miller has been,” Nabben said, in reference to her constant cake donations to, and support of, the Jeju Furey Foundation.
As Open Mic and the FureyFoundation have been a glue for much of the Jeju expat community, Nabben said he picked July 23 to host the event because “people are leaving, you have birthdays, the beginning of the summer; I had all those things in mind. What a great way to close out ... a year. [It was] the big last hurrah for a lot of people.”
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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