▲ Violinist Do Jin Mi, better-known by her stage name Saratomi, performing at the Jeju National University festival. Photo courtesy JNU
The Jeju National University campus was bustling with more bodies than usual this past May 24 through 26. Organizers said more than 5,000 people took part in festivities to mark the 58th anniversary of the university’s founding. With events beginning at 9 a.m. and continuing until late into the night, a cacophony of cheers produced by excited and energetic students could be heard constantly from kilometers away.
During the three-day festival gaggles of students clad in yellow, blue or any other brightly colored t-shirt were easily spotted throughout the province, especially near city hall. The shirts, made by students at the beginning of the festival, indicated the program they were affiliated with and acted as identifying jerseys during the slew of team sports and competitions throughout the program.
Comedian Kim Byung Man hosted several competitions where campus couples battled it out in the hope of being crowned the most romantic pair of the university.
As night began to fall each day, festival-goers congregated before a large stage in the green grass square, where on the first evening outgoing Governor Kim Tae Hwan gave a speech followed by recorded video clips of celebrities wishing the university a happy birthday.
The big event the first evening was a laser and fireworks show that was a pre-cursor to a performance by K-pop singer Psy.
▲ Students take part in festivities at the Jeju National University campus. Photo courtesy JNU
The highlight of the festival was on the third evening when Eun Ji Won per-formed. The square was packed for his concert and a line of volunteers linked arms creating a human wall to prevent eager audience members from getting too close to the stage. Tents lined the square, run by students from different departments, selling a steady flow of alcohol and food for a small fee. The festival concluded with an elaborate display of fireworks synchronized to music.
Even after the smoke of the fireworks dissipated, many of the students were not yet ready to call it a night and prepare to hit their books again the following day. An impromptu rock con-cert garnered a rather large audience outside of one of the tents, where the throng gyrated to covers of Muse, Bush X and to Korean rap and this journalist decided to step out of his passive documenting role and mosh with the best of them.
The three-day event was an elaborate showing and has many already looking forward to next year’s festivities, which will have a hard time bettering this year’s celebration.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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