Jeju Weekly photography Douglas MacDonald succeeded in capturing the fun of the moment at the 10th Stepping Stone Festival on Hamdeok Beach, July 13. For more of MacDonald's work please visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmacs_photos/
Jonny Richardson, from the UK, succinctly captured the mood.
“Sun, ska, summer vibes and smiling faces.”
He was one of hundreds of music lovers who crowded onto Hamdeok Seoubong Beach on Saturday, July 13, for the 10th Stepping Stone Festival. The festival is Jeju's premier indie music showcase and it was the biggest yet, say organizers.
The Stepping Stone Festival is a free event founded by Kim Myung Su who says the festival is “a stepping stone to transforming Jeju into a cultural island.” Since 2004, Kim has taken many steps toward this goal.
Such quality alternative music events are few and far between for Jeju residents, who would normally have to travel to mainland cities to hear such acts as Apollo 18, 3rd Line Butterfly and Kingston Rudieska. Local favorites South Carnival were also among the headliners.
3rd Line Butterfly’s Sung Kiwan had promised it was going to be loud and he was right. By 10 p.m. the crowd, lubricated by the popular Absolut Vodka promotion, turned the beach into a dancefloor as the bands played their best tunes and revelers tested out their best moves.
The Stepping Stone Festival aims to be an “Eco Music Festival.” Organizers say that although festivals are about expressing pent up emotions and indulging in food and drink, they should also be about making a difference to the world and ending inequality.
To end inequality, bingeing was fully encouraged - and indulged. Proceeds from all sales at the event went toward environmental projects on Jeju Island, such as protecting the Gotjawal, Jeju’s unique woodland habitat.
In a sign of how the festival atmosphere can infect everyone, local ajeossi, in suits and ties, were seen bopping to Jamaican ska basslines and mothers and children joined in, too. Many holidaymakers, seemingly caught unawares, were swallowed up by the party atmosphere.
After sunset festival organizers gave out Chinese lanterns to the crowd and asked them to be released into the air in unison. Luckily for Jocheon farmers, a southerly was blowing and the lanterns drifted out to sea. The fishing boats must have been treated to a spectacular sight.
Everyone agreed that the atmosphere at the beach had transformed Hamdeok for the evening. South African Sylvia Paynter said she wished there were more events like it: ”The people were so kind and friendly and the bands were soo much fun! Nothing but happy vibes,” she said.
American Taylor Scaggs was particularly impressed by some of the talent on show.
“Um, I can't think of anything really poetic at the moment, but it was great value, great location, and South Carnival and Apollo 18 were the highlights...and that female lead in the red dress,” he mused.
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