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Rainy day romance at expats summer festivalHeadline Jeju’s annual Jeju Expats Summer Festival was held despite the rain in Tapdong
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승인 2014.07.07  15:50:42
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▲ Koreans joined forces with the international community to put on a show at the 3rd Jeju Expats Summer Festival on Sunday, July 6, at Tapdong, Jeju City. To see more images by Douglas MacDonald visit here. Photo by Douglas MacDonald

Who said events should be cancelled on a rainy day? Sometimes it makes it even more fun and unforgettable for both the audience and performers. This was the case on Saturday, July 5, as Headline Jeju’s 3rd Jeju Expats Summer Festival was held at Tapdong Seaside Amphitheatre.

Some audience members were lucky to grab seats under covered tents while others stood out in the rain, but all could enjoy the symphony of music being performed by a variety of expat and Korean bands.

As the event, sponsored by Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, got under underway there was a slight lack of enthusiasm from the damp audience. However, by the end everyone was fully engaged and despite the heavy rain and strong winds.

All genres were welcome and five different Korean bands and eight expat groups performed. The first expat performer was Steven Mercier, who performed soft rock and children’s music on his guitar. In the event program he asked the audience not to take his songs “too seriously” and “Just enjoy the music!” Despite many in the audience not understanding his lyrics, they did just that and grooved to his melody and beats.

▲ The 3rd Jeju Expats Summer Festival organized by Headline Jeju and held in Tapdong, Jeju City. Photo by Nagyeong Kang

“Gloria” is a family band consisting of a Dutch woman of Korean descent and her Spanish husband, plus their daughter and son. They performed beautiful Korean songs and their emotional music resonated in the air and touched people deeply.

Jerich Go is a collaboration between Jerich Abon and Jessica Gomez and they played folk, acoustic and electric songs with a ukulele. Their easy listening and fun songs were a mixture of folk and rock and the audience felt enthusiastic energy through their music.

When Big J. with the Rare, the Raw and the Cooked performed their blues and country music, some in the audience even took to the stage to dance. The “Big J” in the band name is for long-time Jeju resident Jason on vocals. At the end of his performance he highlighted the importance of Jeju’s diving women, or haenyeo, as the spiritual, cultural and political heartbeat of the community. The audience nodded in agreement as they heard his words.

After a great performance of Korean B-boy dancer was finished, Kundalini Trio boosted the energy even greater. The group is formed in 2014 and comprising three members. An American drummer Douglas, his wife who is a former orchestral violinist Eunbin, and bassist and vocalists Jack.

Their music was not limited by just one genre and they even modernized traditional Korean rhythms which the elderly members of the audience loved. The group worked in perfect harmony and everyone was captivated with breathless attention.

After their performance it was time to cool off. Ruth Minnikin, a singer-songwriter and visual artist took to the stage with her beautiful voice. Rain was falling from the tent rooftop, and her whispering songs got people impressible.

▲ The 3rd Jeju Expats Summer Festival organized by Headline Jeju and held in Tapdong, Jeju City. Photo by Nagyeong Kang

Ruth has known about the festival since last year when she first performed and she supports the festival concept of uniting the Korean and international population through music. She told The Weekly that last year kids even took to the stage to join in the dancing: “It was exciting to watch while performing.”

Ruth has performed all over the world for the last 15 years and based on her experience she says that despite differences, music is universal. “It gives power within it and is a great way to communicate with people from the heart,” she said. You can see Ruth on July 12 at Blue Hill, Jeju City.

The final expat performance was by SK Energy, a collaboration between Steve Mercier and Kent Williams, rather than the well-known energy corporation, although they did give the audience a euphoric charge. Steve plays the trumpet and has performed before former US President Bill Clinton while Kent is a bassist and recently released a solo electric bass album.

There were also performances by Vinnie Motor, Polygraph, and a b-boy group from the Korean community and the festival has played an important role in giving both Koreans and expats an opportunity to interact and get to know each other over the last three years.

It is not easy on Jeju to listen to heavy metal and indie, but although some audience members were not familiar with the music genres, they enjoyed letting go and joining in with the international community on the island.

Headline Jeju, the organizers, stressed the importance of the pride of all Jeju people, irrespective of ethnicity and background. In an announcement they said that after the first two years, it was important for the third year to be about meaningful communication and exchange.

Through the music played at the event, it was clear that people had been brought together, even if just for an evening.

▲ A number of Korean bands and musicians were also on show at the 3rd Jeju Expats Summer Festival. To see more images by Douglas MacDonald visit here. Photo by Douglas MacDonald

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