South Korea // Seoul //

Seoul festivals


APRIL International Women’s Film Festival

A week-long succession of films that “see the world through women’s eyes” (even if they were created by men).

MAY Hi Seoul Festival

With everything from choreographed firework displays and tea ceremonies to men walking across the Han River by tightrope, this ten-day-long celebration of the coming of summer also incorporates the Seoul World DJ festival.

Late MAY Seoul International Cartoon & Animation Festival

Koreans are cartoon addicts. While most of the national fix is sated by Japanese fare, there’s still a lot of local talent – The Simpsons, Family Guy and Spongebob Squarepants are among the shows inked and lined here.

JUNE Korean Queer Culture Festival

Not exactly an event trumpeted by the local tourist authorities – in fact, not so long ago the police were still trying to ban it – this is a great way to see Korea crawling out of its Confucian shell.

JULY Jisan Valley & Pentaport Rock Festivals

Two alcohol-fuelled European-style music festivals (think tents, mud and portaloos) which manage to rope in major international acts, though admittedly ones usually on the wane in their homelands.

AUGUST Seoul Fringe Festival

This fortnight-long platform for all things alternative is very popular with local students, and its semi-international nature means it appeals to overseas visitors too. Hongdae is usually the best place to be.

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER Seoul Performing Arts Festival

This increasingly acclaimed event has seen performances from as far afield as Latvia and Israel, though its main aim is to showcase Korean talent. It takes place in various locations around Seoul over a three-week period.

OCTOBER Drum Festival & Fashion Week

The crashes and bangs of all things percussive ring out at the annual drum event, while Fashion Week has become Asia’s largest fashion event since starting in 2000.

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