▲ A scene from a previous festival. Photo by Jeju City Hall
From fences to folklore, Jeju people have always embraced their island’s surplus of stone. Just 200 meters east of Jeju’s celebrated Dragon Head Rock (Yongduam), the annual Yongyeongyabeom Revival Festival commemorates centuries of Jeju’s folklore, poetry, and arts. The event will be hosted along the rocky edges of the Yongyeon (Dragon River), on Jeju City’s coast, west of Top-Dong. The musical and performance arts tribute to Jeju’s mystical Yongyeon is a must-see for locals and travelers alike.
The small, steep gully surrounding Yongyeon provides ample rocky space for the festival’s moderate-sized orchestra to play the mystical sounds of the region’s past. The Yongyeon suspension bridge, a modern, colorfully-lit bridge that connects the two sides of the gully, creates an additional stage for the evening’s festivities.
Performances on small wooden rafts gliding across the lit river also add great diversity to the evening’s celebration.
The local Jeju legend of Yongyeon tells of dragons that visited Jeju from the East Sea. These dragons were specifically attracted to Yongyeon because of its natural rocky structure, which soon became the dragons’ favorite playground. Equally as enchanted with the area was a Jeju governor during the Joseon dynasty. The governor enjoyed boating in the river and feasting under its starry night skies. At the governor’s request, local villagers created elaborate shows, all staged in Yongyeon; these festivities were known as Yongyeonyabeom. Today’s tribute to these ancient festivities incorporates aspects of the ancient legend and modern Jeju. It is an event for governor and villager alike to enjoy.
This year’s program will begin with a folklore preservation performance, entitled Pungmul. Two well-known Korean instrumental pieces, performed by The Korean Traditional Performing Arts Troupe and The Court Music Troupe will initiate the Folklore Preservation Performance. The festivities will continue with a unique act of the traditional Korean instrument known as the Danso, a short bamboo flute.
The first section of the festival will close with one last performance from The Korean Traditional Performing Arts Troupe and The Court Music Troupe. The second section of the Yongyoenyabeom Revival Festival will incorporate pieces by the Jeju Philharmonic Orchestra, and musical performances from local Jeju Monks.
The Culture and Sports Division of the Jeju City Government will hold the Yeongyeonyabeom Revival Festival for one night only: Saturday, Aug. 28. The show, located at the Yongyeon Suspension Bridge, 200 meters east of Yongduam, begins at 7:30 p.m. and should wrap-up around 9:30 p.m. The whole event is outside, so bring appropriate attire. It is also advisable to come a little early, as the seats near the edge of the gully fill quickly.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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