Some of you may remember that in 2015, I went to the London Korea festival in Trafalgar Square and had a great time. I was really disappointed it didn’t run last year and so was really glad to hear that another Korea/UK cultural project was happening this year and a Korean festival would be part of it.
My review this year is a little shorter as, due to life commitments, we didn’t make it to the festival until the Korea World Festival event was on. By then the queue to get up to the exhibitions was about 30 mins long and as they were a big part of what I wanted to check out, we decided to enjoy the performances whilst queuing. The organisation of this part of the day was definitely less well thought-out than in 2015, but by separating out the Kpop you avoided some of the issues that happened last year (more on that later).
By the time we actually got upstairs, we only actually had time to have a go at traditional games like Tuho (great fun, check it out if you can) and check out the exhibits briefly. Everything had a very long queue and a number of the people running stalls didn’t actually know what was supposed to be going on (one girl had to have it explained to her, worryingly as the exhibit was being closed). On top of that, there wasn’t really enough space for the queues. So I went and had a panic attack which was just what I needed /s.
All in all, the exhibitions were good, very similar to 2015 with the addition of a stall for Pyeongchang Olympics. They had 4 or 5 different stalls selling food as well as a cuisine area with an exhibition and samples. Clearly, they had learned lessons from the past about the popularity of the food.
The repeat of the morning’s performances was up next, so we headed down to the bar to get a drink and enjoy them. I was a little disappointed that there were fewer types of traditional performances and no fashion show at all this year, as that was something I particularly enjoyed last year but the focus this year definitely seemed more pop-culture orientated.
The traditional drumming provided a very dramatic backdrop to our drinks, and the taekwondo was amazing. I felt a little sorry for the B-Boy crew ‘Drifterz’ who were amazing to watch but, as the last people up, were performing to a dwindling and tired crowd.
After the day events, the venue was cleared to be flipped over for the evening event. We decided we were too old to queue for an hour and a half at the front so went and got some sushi at a restaurant down the road. We came back to join a queue we weren’t sure would even fit in the Olympia but we were happy to be proved wrong enough that I didn’t even have to be in amongst a crowd. We set up shop in a good spot to get some photos and began to enjoy the night. What a night it was, I was basically just there for EXID but KNK, Snuper and Highlight were all incredible too. Hani was MCing with some friends of the YouTuber ‘the Korean Englishman’ (correct me if I am wrong please!). They had also MC’d the day (minus Hani) and to be frank I thought they were pretty awkward and well…. not great. I guess, however, I am probably not the target demographic for these events.
Breakdown of performances for those that want to know (I’ll include some fancam links as we didn’t take any ourselves!):
KNK: Knock, Sun Moon and Star, Back Again, U
Special stages were a nice touch, with each group having one. Hyelim sang ‘You Raise Me Up‘, Snuper did a ‘‘Fire‘ dance performance with a dance cover group and KNK sang an Ed Sheeran song (please free to tell me what it’s called… I know nothing about Ed Sheeran. UPDATE: fancam says ‘Thinking Out Loud’). Highlight performed the Encore stage (with everyone else playing with balloons XD).
I loved the event, and will definitely go to any future ones (I just won’t stay in what I am sure was called the murder hotel in a past life next time). For anyone in the UK who loves Korean culture PLEASE check out the Korean Cultural Centre’s events throughout the year. They do amazing work and I always hear people complaining at these events that there is never any K-stuff to go to!
Our full set of pictures can be found HERE.