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Biggest Birthday Party in Hongdae Returns for Renaissance of Indie Scene


Over 120 indie rock acts will participate in one of the biggest ever "Hongdae holidays.”

The event, “2023 Kyungrockjeol -- Mapo Renaissance,” kicks off Feb. 8 and runs to Feb. 12 in hopes of reviving the indie, cultural and arts scene in Hongdae.

The five-day festival is hosted by Crying Nut bassist Han Kyung-rock, also known as Captain Rock, celebrating the rock band’s 28th anniversary.

Captain Rock Company announced on Monday the first lineup for this year’s festival: rock band Jannabi, duo MeloMance, indie singer-songwriter Jungwoo and band Far East Asian Tigers.

The festival will be held both in-person and online. An in-person opening ceremony and performances at Watcha Hall in Hongdae will kick off the five-day festival. Watcha Hall was the festival venue for five consecutive years before the festival moved online due to the pandemic. The rest of the day's performances will be livestreamed through Crying Nut’s official YouTube channel, from several live music venues such as Jebi Dabang, Alivehall and Usiggung. These performances will not have people in attendance.

On the second and third days, the festival will move online, where indie bands -- both newcomers and established musicians -- will meet the audience beyond the limits of time and space. The online festival will be broadcast through the YouTube channel. On the fourth day, live concerts will be held at various clubs in Hongdae under the theme of “Rock and Roll City Tour.” Visitors are welcome to freely visit participating clubs and enjoy the indie culture in Seoul’s popular nightlife district.

On Feb. 12, the party will wrap up at Mapo Art Center's Art Hall Mac, Playmac and Studio 3.

An art exhibition will be held throughout the indie rock festival period at Gallery Mac at the Mapo Art Center. Eight artists, including singer-songwriter Kim Chang-wan from rock band Sanullim, guitarist Lee Sang-myun from Crying Nut and Vovo from No Brain will showcase their works under the theme of “Rock and Roll Renaissance.”

“Kyungrockjeol” started out as Han’s birthday party in 2005. Held every year on Feb. 11, the gathering of fellow musicians has now become “one of the three biggest Hongdae holidays,” alongside Halloween and Christmas.

Although the event moved online during the pandemic, the passion of musicians and fans was steadfast. [TheKoreaHerald]

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