Send to
Expat Living

Big Day South comes to Busan for day of art and music

April 17, 2018 - 18:42 By Paul Kerry
Angle Magazine is opening its flagship showcase event in the largest city in the south.

The audiovisual festival of creativity in the south of the Republic of Korea is back after a year’s hiatus, with its biggest ever lineup.

The festival will take place over four venues in the Pusan National University area, culminating with a main stage at Someday with performances from TFO, the Magus, Billy Carter and Drinking Girls and Boys Choir.

“Well, for starters, I guess the headline band is Drinking Boys and Girls Choir, who we‘ve been fans of for a very long time. And this year they released their debut album and they are making their first comeback show at Big Day South. It will be the first show in I think more than a year after their drummer had a bad back injury,” said Angle founder Philip Brett.

“But the members of the band, aside from making great music, they are really involved in supporting their own scene in Daegu.”

Cindi L’Abbe performs at a previous Big Day South in Ulsan. (Joochan Kim)

All areas of the south are represented in the lineup, with participants from Daegu, Gwangju, Jinju, Jeju, Ulsan, Changwon and Busan.

But unlike previous events, Seoul artists will take part. Brett said this was because more attention was now being paid to bands based in the south and more Seoul artists were traveling south to perform.

“Bands who have come (from Seoul) and played in local venues and played with bands from the city, they manage to create more of a connection and manage to build up an audience here,” he said. “So there are people who will be just as excited to see someone like Billy Carter as they will to see the Magus or Drinking Boys and Girls Choir or other bands who have played around Busan.”

To this end, Angle has worked with bilingual music site DoIndie, which has also helped in other ways such as promotion and ticketing. Brett said DoIndie had worked in the past to help Seoul bands play in the south, and was working with organizations such as Angle to help the foreign bands they bring to Korea play in southern cities.

This year the festival teamed up with Busan arts collective Exotic Beasts and Seoul collective Crazy Multiply for a joint exhibition at Art Gallery Open. The space will also hold interactive art and screen printing by Mini Print. The exhibition opens from 10 a.m. and will run until 6 p.m.

The performance art stage at Someday, curated by past performer Cindi L’Abbe, will feature dance, acrobatics, poetry, theater and improv performances, as well as a pop-up exhibition by Busan artist Myung Hee Yoo.

The afternoon will have 10 musical acts performing on a staggered schedule between Interplay and Basement. Alongside acts like All I Have, B9, the Vastards and Banana Monkey Spanner, who represent the exciting Busan music scene, there will be Seoul garage punk act Nametag, Changwon psychedelic rock band Uncle Bob and Gwangju skate punk band Dirtyrockhon.

“Uncle Bob and the Magus both performed there and they really ... they were so popular and their performance was so good at those shows that we just had to get them back again,” Brett said.

In addition, electronic duo Tengger will be joined by the fun and danceable pop band Windy Cat from Gwangju and Jeju-based Ruth Minnikin.

“She is incredible,” said Brett, describing Minnikin’s music as a combination of folk and gospel with touches of blues. 

Tengger performs at a previous Big Day South in Ulsan. (Joochan Kim)

He said she had spent 20 years as a professional musician, with several bands including one with her brother Gabriel called the Minnikins.

“She was signed to a major label Canada straight out of high school and she had a career that had her traveling all over the world in a number of different bands, but the sheer amount of experience she has and that knowledge of how to make a living in the music industry is something that would be really, really valuable for every other act performing at the festival,” he said.

“But aside from all of that her performance is going to be great. ... She is also a visual artist so she is a perfect fit for the festival.”

To encourage people to come to the whole event, there will be free tote bags from Mini Print for the first 50 people to get their wrist bands and Jameson Irish Whiskey will also supply a free drink to people attending all the venues.

“It’s another way to encourage people to not just come for the bands, and engage with all different elements of the festival,” Brett said.

The festival is also cooperating with local studio Hillbilly Tattoo, which has special designs available at half price for those in attendance.

Big Day South takes place on April 28, with the exhibition opening at 10 a.m., the performance art stage open from noon to 3 p.m. and staggered shows running from 3:30 p.m. before the main stage at 9 p.m.

Tickets are available for purchase at Full day passes are 25,000 won in advance or 30,000 at the door and single-entry tickets to each stage are 12,000 won.

By Paul Kerry (