Last weekend I went yet again to Seoul to go to a jazz festival. I am starting to get tired of that bus ride. Usually there is a break in the middle of the journey, but not this time. I was sitting like a crouched hunchback while silently squealing for myself the last hour trying to prevent a rather unorthodox place to pee. The girl sitting on the other side of me on the bus several times clutched her bag while staring at me, probably wondering if she should ask if I needed help or scream to the bus driver to kick me out. I wouldn’t mind the latter, then I could just have hitchhiked after doing my business in the bushes. The (not so charming) story does have a happy ending though. I basically limped (Not joking, I have never been more focused my whole life) out of the bus when we arrived and found a human made toilet, for Koreans or foreigners. We all experience drama in our lives sometimes.
After getting lost only for 15 minutes I found my guesthouse. I had decided to not only spend my time in Hongdae, so I went to the even more famous Gangnam, at Kimchee Guesthouse. For the first time since arriving in Korea I would have my own room and toilet. It’s surprising how much I love having alone time considering how much I can jabber everyday. The room was small, but comfortable. Although I sliced my middle toes four times on the high floor from the bed to the bathroom during the weekend I was still pleased with the guesthouse.
Friday was quiet and happy, spending time with Hanbeet, eating shabu shabu and talking and talking.
Saturday, May 17, Norways national day, and the first day of the festival! Mind you, there was quite a lot of different artists there, so I believe anyone who has interest in music would love to go. I have little knowledge or experience in jazz music, but I never got disappointed with the concerts! The festival itself was in the Olympic Park, and it was a huge place with two outdoor arenas, and one indoors, a huge dome. They sold all kinds of food, and the prices was lower than I thought they would be. I was alone the whole day, but even so I felt never lost or lonely, but a big sense of freedom and happiness. All the concerts I saw was great. The two that left the strongest impressions on me was Eric Nam and Damien Rice.
Saturday I started talking with Robert from the US at the guesthouse during breakfast, and he asked if I wouldn’t mind if he joined me in the festival. Being a very interesting person we had a lot to talk about the whole day, but we both enjoyed the concerts in silence. Perfect combo at a festival I would say.
I find it hard to describe the concerts itself, but I do know I am really impressed by the Korean audience. Every time I went to concerts in Norway there would be at least one person who ruined it for everyone, or people who was too drunk to appreciate the music, or hitting my head with their elbows. Perhaps it was because this festival had no camping (the last concert finished at 22:15), or that Koreans are a lot more used to being in crowds. No bumping, no one misbehaving, and the ones who were drinking could not have been more than slightly drunk. This doesn’t mean they kept quiet! They clapped, laughed, screamed and danced, but only when it was suited to do so. It sounds too good to be true, right? I believe half of the reason for my extreme happiness with this festival was how the audience had such a strong connection to the artist, and the artist with them. The last concert, Jamie Cullum, he seemed so happy and amazed at how everyone was, I just could not stop smiling. I find it hard to express the feelings I had during this weekend – but I know I will be back.