All photos by Douglas MacDonald. For more of his shots visit his Flickr here. - Ed.
There certainly are a few tried-and-true Jeju traditions, and the Stepping Stone Festival at Hamdeok Seoubong Beach is one of them. Despite torrential rain, July 11 saw the 12th installment of this free music festival, although the party did move indoors.
Storms in previous years had battered stoic music lovers on the beach and sent tents tumbling, but this year organizers moved indoors last minute as Typhoon Chan-hom whipped up the winds and rain as it passed west.
With projections of clear, sunny skies above the Grand Ballroom stage in nearby Daemyung Resort, attendees partook in fun drinking games and free beverages outside in the entrance lounge.
The energy of the volunteers certainly set the tone upon entering the event with their cheerful welcomes and giveaway goodies.
A tip of the hat goes to the ever-enthusiastic soju cap shuffleboard game table; their enthusiasm radiated throughout the entrance hall that was jam-packed with temporary-tattooed and flowered attendees in beachwear.
Some found the contrast of the beach-like vibe inside with the doom and gloom just outside the glass windows a bit strange. American Jeju resident Alex Harter said, “It’s looks like a fallout shelter, but the funnest fallout shelter I’ve ever seen.”
“The gusts of a typhoon outside were mimicked with perfect mockery by the indoor storm, but I'm glad the Stepping Stone lineup was able to make some magic,” observed attendee Justin Ferrell also from the US.
Others celebrated the silver lining of the stormy festivities. “Hey, a night of drinking and only 5 dollars spent, not bad,” commented Canadian André Goulet.
The lineup included bands local, domestic and foreign representing an interesting mosaic of genres. Jeju’s favorite ska band, South Carnival gave a wild show in classy pink suits.
The audience swayed to the croonings and signature bobblehead movements of legendary ZEN ALONE; singer Jen Earl Sublime-inspired Dashboard Confessional sound never fails to impress.
Later Japanese PeopleJam got booties bouncing with their autotune-heavy dance music, also described as dolphin rock.
Seoul-based duo Dead Buttons brought the house down with their White Stripes/Black Keys vibe. The crowds raged on the dancefloor during their finale Highway to Hell rendition.
American Joey Rositano reflected upon the event’s evolution in awe, "The first time I went to Stepping Stone there were only local garage bands playing on a makeshift setup. It's amazing how far the organizers have come to create such a great event right here in Jeju."
Indeed, it seems Stepping Stone has grown to be a favorite summer festival of many since it was first organized in 2007 by Kim Myung Su in order to raise funds to maintain Jeju’s nature and environment. Here’s to many more to come, rain or shine.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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