Ten Things We Learnt From 2016 Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival

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The 11th Pentaport Rock Festival was held in August 12-14th at Songdo Pentaport Park in Incheon, Korea, drawing 86,000 visitors this year. During the last 11 years, Pentaport has featured international musicians including Deep Purple, Rage Against The Machine, Dream Theater, The Prodigy, Muse, and Travis, as well as Korean musicians including No Brain, Guckkasten, Crash, Baekdoosan, Gogo Star, Psy, Lee Seunghwan, Seo Taiji, Urban Zakapa, and Yellow Monsters. As Time Out Magazine in 2015 selected Pentaport as one of the 50 Best Music Festivals in the World, you as an avid rock fan shouldn’t miss this festival next time. So here are ten things we learned from this year’s Pentaport Rock Festival:

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1. This year’s lineup included around 80 artists: headliners Suede, Weezer, Panic! at the Disco and Two Door Cinema Club as well as international and Korean bands Nell, Run River North, Galaxy Express, We Are the Night, Crossfaith, Grouplove, 10cm, Daybreak, Romantic Punch, The Koxx, Spyair, Jung Joonil, Peterpan Complex, The Oral Cigarettes, Crash, Method, Rux, Boys in the Kitchen, Inlayer, Nothing but Thieves, Idiotape, At the Drive-in, Life and Time, The Preatures, I Am Not, Oriental Showcus, The Vaccines, Peppertones, Dear Cloud, Fromm, Zannabi, Black Honey, Mann, Zion. T, Microdot, Geeks, Ja Mezz, Incredivle, Rude Paper, Dick Punks, Sultan of the Disco, Danpyunsun and the Sailors, Jun Bumsun and the Yangbans, Monarchy, Xin Seha, Love X Stereo, Ludistelo, Kim Changgi Band, J Rabbit, Rooftop Moonlight and more. The lineups are usually announced from late March or April.

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2. Throughout the three days, the headliners killed every stage. Suede kicked off their performance with “Sabotage” and continued to sing their hit songs, “Positivity,” “Trash,” “Animal Nitrate,” and more. When the fans sang “She’s in Fashion” in unison, Brett Anderson left the stage and joined the audience several times. The performance was so passionate that his shirt was ripped! Meanwhile, Korean fans were touched by Weezer’s effort to communicate with them in Korean. After singing the band’s songs from “California Kids” to “Buddy Holly,” Weezer covered Kim Kwangseok’s famous song, “Becoming Dust.” In each performance, River Cuomo wore different costumes, for instance, he he dressed up like a king with a crown and a red cape when he sang “King of the World.” On the last night, so many people gathered to watch the double headliners that people automatically slammed into each other once they jumped. Two Door Cinema Club killed the stage by performing “Cigarettes in the Theatre,” “Undercover Martin,” “Do You Want It All?” “Someday,” “What You Know” and more. It was the first time Panic! at the Disco visited Korea, yet they were greatly welcomed by hardcore fans who sang along almost all numbers. Brendon Urie seemed to be touched so much by the audience and repeatedly mentioned that he couldn’t understand why it took so long (11 years!) for them to come to Korea.

3. Korean bands also rocked the stage as if they do not even feel the exhausting summer heat. While metal bands such as Crash and Method  made people slam into each other, indie bands such as Nell and Rooftop Moonlight offered a nice break with their sentimental sounds. Aside from rock stages, a hip hop session called “Rapbeat Show” was open on the first day. In this session, Zion. T was definitely the most popular one, and the audience sang along almost all numbers of his performance. There were also Samba and African dance workshops in the afternoon of second and third days.

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4. So where to buy the tickets? A number of ticket sales companies (Interpark, Yes24, Melon, Tmon, and Enticket) sell the Festival tickets. Pentaport also sells Platinum tickets that provide: an exclusive lounge that is close to the stage; free checkroom; free cellphone charger; exclusive restrooms; an exclusive bar; and an exclusive smoking room. The Pentaport Park offers a camping area and the camping ticket can be purchased at Interpark (100 tents are provided a day; you may also bring your own tent). If you are coming from Seoul or other cities (Yongin, Bundang, Anyang, Suwon, Daejeon, Daegu, Busan, Jeonju, and Gwangju), you can make a bus reservation from ggoggama.com. Car rental service is also available.

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5. Yet there are items prohibited: Alcohols, drugs, (glass) bottles, cans, food (except fruit or salad in a transparent container), flammable items, cooking utensils or equipments, plastic bottles (500ml or less), spray deodorants, pets (except assistance dogs), wireless communication equipments (except cellphones), helmets, placards or papers with a certain political or religious claims, items for commercial purposes to promote certain companies or products, items that can interrupt performances (i.e. laser pointers), professional video/audio recording equipments, and drones.

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6. Available amenities are: Parking area, car rental, food court, convenient stores, cafe, bar, restrooms, swimming pool, tent rental/camping area, checkroom, smoking area, washroom/shower room, ATM, bar, medical service, and cellphone charger.

7. Remember, the (unofficial) “food” headliner at the Festival is kimchi noodle soup (kimchimari guksu)! It’s a cold, sweet and spicy soup that helps you cool down. It was so popular that on the third day the soup was sold out.

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8. Don’t miss the “Meet & Greet” autograph signing events! This year fans enjoyed the fan sign meetings with Nothing But Thieves, Grouplove, Weezer, Crossfaith, Suede, Run River North, The Oral Cigarettes, and more.

9. It is always fun to watch Korean fans offering surprise events to the performers: Fans occasionally light their cellphone flashlights altogether; some fan clubs distribute light sticks for free to other audience members; fans sing along the songs and amuse their performers. Some bring slogans with supportive phrases while some bring flags with witty phrases like “What is important than the Rock Festival?” which parodied the famous line “What is important?” from the Korean film “The Wailing.”

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10. Pentaport is very responsive to the visitors. If you have any advice or complaints about its service, contact via Twitter or Facebook. After the festival, the website serves as a Lost & Found site for a month. You can also call 1644-1118. See you at next year’s Pentaport Rock Festival!

Photos 1 & 3 courtesy of Yescom Entertainment. All other photos by Stephanie Choi.