Journals from Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea
2013-07-04 ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL
The main stage
Ultra Music Festival (UMF) is an electronic concert that features the most famous DJ’s in the world and it takes place in many cities across the world and I went to the one in Seoul at the Olympic stadium. It’s a really big deal because Koreans absolutely love electro/techno/trace music so UMF was such a big deal, being advertized everywhere across Seoul where it’s on public transportation, buildings, you name it. When you go shopping or walk around the city all the shops play electronic music whether it’s a clothing or food store. Korea’s love for this genre was only exemplified at UMF: the crowd turn out and lines for this event was absolutely mind-blowing. The bombastic atmosphere was enough for everyone to have an amazing time, with several different stages, bars and food areas. This was my first electronic concert and I didn’t have much expectation other than hearing about past UMF’s but considering that it was in Korea that alone was enough to have a good feeling about it. It was two straight days of hearing the world’s best DJ’s all in one arena, looking back on it I realize what a big deal it was and especially for the price ($130 for both days, $100 individually).
From Krewella to Armin to Afrojack to Carl Cox, this is something I would have only done in Korea. At home I don’t have much interest for these things, but in Seoul music revolves around this genre, even more so than K-pop at times. I’ve been experiencing the traditional culture of Korea for months for this is something that is now and the future. Contemporary culture has a large part to do with this festival, I was told that Koreans party hard when it comes to having fun and this was no exception. Being in the crowd among thousands of other people equally if not more excited for the show was almost an out of body experience, people were dancing, laughing, hugging, all incredibly happy to share this time with others who felt the same way. The only negative thing was moving around, since we were in the middle of a huge amount of people moving was quite difficult. Going from one stage to another was a trek but well worth it, Carl Cox had his own giant stage but it was all the way across the stadium. There was no way I was missing him so I made the journey, definitely not without some minor bruising and cuts along the way considering things were flying around in the air, people had bags and drinks in their hand. When leaving a certain stage I felt so exhausted, the music faded into the background and my feet were in pain. I would think that I wanted to leave as I walked to the next stage but as I neared it I could hear the faint sound become loud and full of bass and I quickly forgot about pain and exhaustion as I regained my mental strength and continued to dance. I have never felt this moved by the atmosphere before and that’s what allowed me to dance from 3 pm to 12 am for two straight days. I honestly could not have been able to pull this anywhere else and Ultra will be one of my fondest memories on the peninsula.