One of the things on my bucket list for my second trip to Seoul was to see a live performance by a Korean artist I really like named DEAN (딘). Before my second trip, I researched online to see if he would have any concerts in Korea during the month I would be there. He is popular in Korea, not only for his music, but for also being a mentor on a rap competition that was running on TV at the time of my trip, so I assumed he would be performing in Korea unless he was on tour. Through his Facebook page, I found that he was in fact playing at a music festival the first weekend in September, along with another artist I like named ZICO (지코). I figured, “When else am I going to have the opportunity to go to a Korean music festival?” so I booked tickets for my friend and me.
While everyone at home was having cookouts for Labor Day weekend, I was traveling from Pyeongtaek to Seoul to go to the Lime Tree Festival (라임 트리 페스티벌). My friend and I took the metro to get there, so we had to walk part of the way to the festival, which was a bit of an adventure using navigation apps in a different language. Turns out the stop where we got off was not the closest one, even though the festival’s website said it was, so it was quite a hike to the festival. We got to see the Seoul World Cup Stadium on the way though, and we had to walk through another park before we finally could hear music playing off in the distance.
When we got to the Lime Tree Festival, we had to pick up our tickets and then our wristbands, but I didn’t know that’s how the system worked. You had to first pick up your ticket from the correct vendor that you purchased it from, but there were five or six tents of vendors. After that, you had to go to the end of the line of tents and pick up a wristband for the day you were there (it was a two-day festival) and to show if you were legally old enough to purchase alcohol. Let me tell you, it is a good thing that I can read Hangeul because it would have been impossible to figure out the system if I hadn’t. We still had a little bit of trouble. Translation apps were useful for words I didn’t know, like “wristband” after I knew what I was looking for. This was probably the only time in Korea that language was truly a barrier.
Once we got inside, we decided to go get food because we had about an hour and a half until DEAN was scheduled to come on. We went and got some fried chicken (a Korean favorite) and some blackberry ciders to drink while we relaxed before the show. The food area was located right next to the main stage, so we could hear the artists that were performing. We got to listen to the two artists who were on the main stage before DEAN. The lineup at this festival included a mix of Korean artists. There were rappers and vocalists. DEAN is a vocalist who raps a bit, and ZICO is a rapper.
When the artist right before DEAN had finished, my friend and I made our way to the main stage and found a spot really far in the back to sit on some steps, since we hadn’t brought a blanket to sit on in front of the stage. I have to say DEAN was amazing. His live vocals sounded exactly the same as his recorded tracks. He sang two songs completely in English, and his pronunciation was perfect. He performed all of my favorites, and he even performed a new version of a song called “Bermuda Triangle” that he and ZICO originally collaborated on. DEAN wrote a new rap verse, and performed that version. DEAN played for about forty minutes, and then ZICO came on stage. ZICO was a little different than on his recorded tracks, sounding a little more aggressive, but he was still really good! I like many songs of his, and he played all of my favorites, as well.
Here are some fancams from DEAN and ZICO’s performances that I found on YouTube by the channel 비몽 (Bimong):
All in all, it was a really fun day, and after the festival we walked along the Han River Park for about an hour relaxing, taking pictures, and enjoying Seoul at night before we decided to catch the metro back to my friend’s place, as it was getting late. I would definitely go to another music festival in Seoul. That was a relaxed day full of adventure (and a few mishaps getting there and picking up the tickets) that I won’t forget for a very long time.