See Seoul’s summer of dance, drinks, running and roller coasters

Summer festivals are a great time to get out and have fun, and South Korea is no exception. While events like Coachella and Glastonbury hardly need an introduction, South Korea has its own thriving festival scene, offering locals and visitors alike the chance to immerse themselves in music, dancing, fashion or sports – even all at the same time.

Coolest dance festival on hottest running day

What’s better than getting blasted by a 200-ton water cannon on the hottest day of the year while dancing outside to electronic dance music (EDM) by cool DJs? Running for 30 minutes to get to the venue first! The young and hip with energy to burn can participate in the 2019 Shower Run Seoul happening on Aug. 17. First the participants will meet at 2 p.m. at Youth Square in Nanji Hangang Park. Second, they will run a 7 km course on the hottest day of the year. And third, when they arrive at the event venue, they will be blasted with a 200-ton water cannon while dancing to the latest EDM tracks. It is being billed as both the hottest and coolest event of the summer.

The Shower Run Seoul is also being sponsored by Brooks Running, a running brand of the Samsung C&T Fashion Group. The company is giving participants the opportunity to experience their chic exercise clothing during the unique exercise experience.

All participants will get the new Brooks Running summer ‘19 t-shirt. The t-shirt for women is white mesh and made from moisture absorbent fabric with a slit in the back to help with layering on top of other clothing. The t-shirt for men is black mesh fabric with enhanced stretch and air permeability.

Brooks Running-brand exercise apparel

“Young runners in their 20s and 30s pursue a happy and healthy lifestyle by enjoying running anywhere and anytime,” said Song Joo-baek, manager of Brooks Running, when asked about the event. “By hosting unique events for runners, Brooks Running will strengthen its branding by sharing their young and passionate running culture with them.”

But that’s just the beginning of the electronic dancing summer of Seoul. Here are 2 other big EDM festivals being held this summer:

Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC)

• Date: Aug. 31 – Sept. 1, 2019

• Location: Seoulland

• Performers: Alesso, DJ Snake deadmau5, and 30 other talents

• Content: artist performances, virtual reality cafes, arcades, carousels, roller coasters, and cosplay

2019 EDC lineup / Source: Electric Daisy Carnival web site
2019 Spectrum Dance Music Festival

• Date: Sept. 7 – 8, 2019

• Location: Nanji Hangang Park

• Performers: CO.KR, Hitchhiker, Hyo, Vini Vici, Afrojack and more

• Content: artist performances, art installations, concept spaces, exotic dancers

2019 Spectrum Dance Music Festival lineup / Source: Spectrum Dance Music Festival web site

Down by the riverside

The Brooks Shower Run Festival is part of a larger, summerlong Hangang Summer Festival at many different locations along the Han river and other cultural locations. It also includes paper boat races and the Bamdokkaebi Night Market, named after a creature from Korean folklore.

There are 77 programs under three themes organized to occur at dozens of different times throughout the summer in all of the 11 different parks that line the Han-river. They are organized into three different categories: water sports, art performances, and night-time fun. See some selected example activities below:

Hangang Bike Tour

• Date: Aug. 15, 7am – 1pm

• Location: Event Plaza of Yeouido Hangang Park

• Description: A group bike ride along the Han River, noncompetitive, leisurely, and rule-abiding.

• How to participate: Advance reservation through Open Rider mobile app

• Fee: KRW 20,000 per person

Hangang Moonlight Circus

• Date: Aug. 15 – 17, 6pm – 10pm

• Location: Riverside stage at Sebitseom Island in Banpo Hangang Park

• Description: A wide array of circus performances from traditional to modern

• How to participate: Just show up

• Fee: Free

Banpo Bridge Picnic

• Date: Aug. 15, 2pm – 11pm

• Location: east side of Moonlight Square at Banpo Hangang Park

• Description: Enjoy food and the spectacle of the Jamsugyo Culture Party! Check out the art market on the Hangang riverside!

• How to participate: Just show up

• Fee: Free

Bamdokkaebi Night Market

The Bamdokkaebi Night Market opens every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night from now until October. Temporary stalls are set up in public spaces and wonderful clothes, handmade jewelry, exotic food, and delicious drinks that are hard to find anywhere else in the city are offered for sale.

This unique night market held in various places near the Han River has a unique theme for each location. In Moonlight Square at Banpo Hangang River Park is the Romantic Moonlit Market, with fountains and art aiding the nightscape of love between the bright yellow stalls. In Cascade Plaza at Yeouido Hangang River Park can be found World Night Market, where it is said that one can take a trip around the entire world in one night. And at Dongdaemun Design Plaza can be found the Youth Runway Market, which focuses on hip design and young ideas.

Crowds gather at the Bamdokkaebi Night Market in July 2018 at Yeouido Hangang River Park. / Source: Seoul Bamdokkaebi Night Market web site
Neon-free daytime fun

EDM is great, but sometimes people just want to sit down and drink a beer. If that describes you, you can go to the beer festivals held in Sinchon and Songdo.

Sinchon Beer Festival

• Date: Sept. 20 – 22, 2019

• Location: Between Sinchon subway station and the front gate of Yonsei University

• Description: Open-air tables surrounded by food and beer stalls let you sit down to enjoy food and drink while listening to live musical performances on stage.

• How to participate: Just show up

• Fee: Free

An aerial view of last year’s Sinchon Beer Festival / Source: visitkorea.co.kr
Songdo Beer Festival

• Date: Aug 23 – 31, 2019

• Location: Songdo Pentaport Park

• Description: Nine days of food, beer, fireworks, and music from artists like Ji-young, 6band, Crying Nut, Cherryfilter, and Ulala Session

• How to participate: Just show up

• Fee: KRW 15,000 per day, or KRW 50,000 for festival pass

Crowds listen at the Songdo Beer Festival. / Source: Songdo Beer Festival web site

So, no matter where one is this summer in or out of Seoul there is probably going to be a festival happening within 30 minutes’ distance or less. To miss out on all of these would be a crime against fun. So go and check out what’s happening down the river, and don’t mind the heat – there’s a water cannon!

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