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Jarasum Jazz Festival returns in full swing

Aug. 23, 2022 - 18:02 By Hwang Dong-hee
Visitors enjoy music at the Jarasum Jazz Festival on Jara Island in Gapyeong, Gyeonggi Province. (Jarasum Jazz Festival)
After two pandemic-ridden years of online and scaled-back performances, the country‘s biggest jazz festival is set to return in October.

The three-day Jarasum Jazz Festival will kick off on Oct. 1 on Jara Island, Gyeonggi Province, with 19 international performers and 13 Korean acts participating in the jazz-filled program.

The 19th edition of the festival will open with singer Kim Hyun-chul, four-member keyboard band Hardpiano, jazz trio Winter To Spring and newcomers jazz vocalist Cho Hae-in’s quintet and jazz band Yong to the Sun.

Jazz pianist Joey Alexander, a three-time Grammy nominee, is also joining the festival for the first time.

Known for highlighting artists from different countries, this year‘s festival focuses on performers from Spain. The lineup includes Galicia’s foremost jazz trio Sumrra, rising pianist Daniel Garcia‘s trio and Barencia, a jazz trio that performs with a flamenco dancer.

In addition, the “Jarasum Beyond” section of the festival will introduce the “Donggi Doobap Project” on the last day. Through a combination of Korean traditional music and jazz, the “Donggi Doobap Project” will explore different motifs from “minyo,” or regional folk songs, from five regions of Korea.
Visitors enjoy music at the Jarasum Jazz Festival on Jara Island in Gapyeong, Gyeonggi Province. (Jarasum Jazz Festival)

This year, the festival will expand its potential audience by moving into the metaverse. Virtual interviews with jazz artists, performances in an extended reality (XR), and a backstage tour will take place throughout the festival, exclusively on Naver’s metaverse platform, Zepeto.

The 17th festival was held online without an audience, while the 18th festival limited the number of visitors to 2,000 a day.

The streets of Seodo near Jara Island and Gapyeong will be bustling with concerts and musicians busking before and after the Jarasum Jazz Festival.

Launched in 2004 on a once-abandoned island, the annual event has become one of the most successful music festivals in Korea, with more than 2.88 million people having attended over the past 18 years. A total of 1,200 acts from 58 countries have performed at the festival.

Tickets are available online at a discounted price on the festival‘s official site until Sept. 30. Tickets can also be bought at the venue.