▲ The 9th Jeju Haevichi Arts Festival - Photo courtesy The Korean Cultural & Arts Centers Association
Artists and performers joined arts venue bosses and festival organizers from Korea and overseas for the 9th Jeju Haevichi Arts Festival.
A total of 12,000 people including an estimated 1,500 people from the arts industry were expected to have come to the festival held June 13-16.
Some 150 organizations involved in arts and cultural events took part in exhibitions and arts markets over the four-day event held across Jeju.
This year’s festival included special performances held at 14 venues across the island - including Jeju International Airport, Jeju National Museum in Jeju City and the World Cup Stadium in Seogwipo.
Korean Music Group Wolcheon were among acts performing a live show at the airport. The six-piece group performed Sea Spread in the Sky to airline passengers at 6pm on June 13.
Lee Tae-ho, a contrabass player in Wolcheon, told Arirang News: "There aren't many stages for contemporary bands like ourselves that play Korean traditional music.
"I hope there are more festivals like this so that many performers can truly concentrate on their work and give their best."
Boasting the slogan "Welcome to Jeju - and enjoy K-culture" this year’s festival included dozens of shows and performances as well as conferences and meetings.
Round table events provided details of support programs available to arts groups with debates held to promote art and cultural activities.
Meanwhile, 24 open-to-the-public arts performances took place as part of the Jeju-In fringe festival.
New stages were built for acts performing at the fringe event including at the Hyundai Motors Jeju Regional HQ Exhibition Center.
The festival, organised by The Korean Cultural & Arts Centers Association and Jeju Special Self Governing Province, aims to help with the development of performance arts and artistic exchange and has grown to become the largest of its kind in Korea.
Festivities kicked off on June 13 at the Haevichi Hotel & Resort Jeju’s Grand Ballroom with an arts market with hundreds of arts groups, venues, and institutes showcasing cultural events.
Korean actor Jang Hyung-Sung and ballerina Kim Joo-Woon took to the main stage in the hotel’s garden for a two-hour opening ceremony.
A series of performances followed in the hotel’s garden where Artstage SAN dressed as characters from Alice in Wonderland mingled with dancers, drummers and guests.
Performers Rapercussion and Kingston Rudieska gave lively shows ahead of a children’s traditional drumming group before the evening’s awards ceremony was held honoring arts groups and organizations.
Governor of Jeju Special Self Governing Province Won Hee-ryong stepped up to main stage for the presentation of awards before a live orchestra brought the opening ceremony to a penultimate finale ahead of a spectacular pyrotechnics display.
An academic fair and symposium was held on days two and three of the festival, giving art center officials and performer groups a chance to meet with renowned artists from Korea and overseas.
Rick Heath, executive director of Australian Performing Arts Centres Association, was among the invited guests to this year’s Jeju Haevichi Arts Festival.
He has worked in the performing arts industry in Australia for 25 years and helps run arts conferences in cities across Australia.
Mr Heath said: “For two days we have about 40 – 50 companies come from around Australia. They pitch and showcase work to around 150 venue managers and festival programmers in Australia.”
He added: “I am interested to hear how they choose performers here."
Mr Heath is an authority on performing arts touring and a champion of cultural advocacy and was executive producer for the Perth International Arts Festival.
He said: “I have been invited because I run a similar association in Australia – the Association of Performing Art Centres for companies and government bodies.
“It is a fact-finding mission for both of us. I will see how they work and I will talk a bit about how we work at the Symposium. We are talking about how we can collaborate in the future.”
Asked about how the festival and its aims compared with similar events he has held in Australia, Mr Heath pointed to how the events often focus on arts as a mean of building communities and help boost local economies. He said: “It is multi-faceted. It is the same wherever you go, in any country it is about celebrating the culture that is there and attracting people to that place from a tourism point of view as well – but, for me, the arts should be front and centre, the economic benefits are a secondary benefit.”
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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