The biggest show in town this weekend by far is the New Town Culture Party all day on May 1, with 51 bands over 60 bands scheduled to appear. With so many bands playing, just about the whole indie scene is going to be there, including 3rd Line Butterfly, Byul, Baik Hyun-jhin, Cocore, I&I Djangdan and Anakin Project.
The show has a couple of purposes — to celebrate the 120th anniversary of May Day (really), and to protest the demolition of the popular Dooriban restaurant. Apparently a big area around the restaurant is being “redeveloped,” for the construction of the Incheon Airport train line, a big train station, and who knows what else. I do not care much about the politics of the show, but it has a pretty impressive lineup that it totally worth supporting.
The show begins at noon and is scheduled to go until 3am, with three stages playing music all day long (you can get the full schedule, in English, here). Tickets are 5,100 won in advance or 12,000 won at the door.
To get to the concert site, go out Hongik University Subway Station entrance No. 4 (toward Sinchon and the Rinnai building), and walk straight about 100 meters, until you get to the big redevelopment zone. On the KGG map, it would be in the lower left-hand corner.
UPDATE: Since I actually used to live in that neighborhood, I thought I would add my twenty won. Hard to believe that construction on the subway and station in that area began over four years ago (maybe even nearing five). It was a pretty quiet place, fairly secure (thanks to former President Kim Dae-jung living nearby). I think the last of the two-story homes along the train tracks was converted into a “villa” five years ago. The coffee and clothing shops mostly moved in since then.
But I recall being greeted to the sounds of heavy machinery right outside my window, ripping out the old train tracks that used to run through the area and then boring deep into the ground. It was very annoying and loud, but if, as the promotional pictures claim, the old train track space is turned into parkland when the construction is finally finished, it could be quite a nice addition to the city.
The area around Dooriban was more sketchy. There used to be a very dubious veterinary clinic there, with an ancient veterinarian. Very friendly guy, but he was not exactly up to date on the latest in animal medicine. Probably for the best he is gone. There was a very good noodle shop there for a while, too (I am more sad that it is gone), a salsa studio, and plenty more. Going back further, there used to be a couple of great pojangmacha, too, and it was good fun to drink with your friends in the wee hours, as the occasional train went slowly chugging by.
While it is sad that a much-loved restaurant and other locations are getting torn down, this construction project really shows the two sides of Korean development — the forces that destroy Korea’s coolest stuff are often the same forced that created that cool stuff in the first place.
People are usually well aware that construction projects are slated for a neighborhood at some point in the future (sometimes years in advance), which lowers deposits and rental prices there, especially as the development gets closer. And with rental prices low, that brings in the artists. Of course, you also have the more common kind of gentrification, too — artists go to cheap, lousy neighborhood, make it chic, which leads to development, higher prices, and all the artists leaving. But often in Korea, the development plan comes first, and the people in a development area know they are living on borrowed time.
Anyhow, whatever Dooriban’s story is, I hope you check out the concerts this weekend and have a great time. Wish I could be there.