Jisan Rock Valley Festival (a review by Nox)

At the beginning of this month, I went to the Jisan Valley Rock Festival. If you’re wondering what on Earth that is, I would advise you to look to the right on your globe and locate South Korea. Seeing as I am currently there, that should give you some insight!

Now the Jisan Valley Rock Festival is held in none other than Jisan Valley, which is actually a ski resort during the winter months. Naturally, the stages were set up all along the bottom of the Valley; however, the camping was on the sides of the mountains! I can inform you after a night of sleeping on the side of a mountain -continuously waking up to push yourself back up to your pillows because gravity is pulling you down and making you half-consciously assume at any moment someone is going to slip too far and go tumbling down the stone-ridden hill pulling the tent and everyone inside with it – that the following morning may possibly be one of the sorest moment you will ever experience.

Fortunately, such bad camping grounds are worth it with a line up including bands such as Muse, Mute Math, Vampire Weekend, Massive Attack, Third Eye Blind, Kula Shaker, and Pet Shop Boys. Not to mention Korean punk band Galaxy Express who covered I love Rock and Roll with a Female vocalist, as well as a medley containing ACDC, Green Day, Queen, and quite a few more. Also there were Korean metal bands such as Crazy for Crash and several DJs, which isn’t surprising considering South Korea hosted the World DJ Festival just months before.

The festival was something similar to a Korean Bonnaroo, only less environment-friendly. The resort offered a pool with massive blow-up water slides, floating trampolines, and other large floats to play on. The food varied from traditional Korean food to BBQ to pizza, coffee, and hotdogs. Not to mention enough alcohol to drown a city, which was served in buckets (which you may recognize as the ones your baby sister used to build sand castles with at the beach). The merch tents were so offbeat it was humorous. Not only were local shops there, but also one could find Calvin Klein underwear, Beats by Dr. Dre, and even Crocs. As a side note, any time we walked anywhere it was always up or down an incline. Anytime we wanted to retreat back to the tent we had to walk up half a mountain, literally. But none of the exhaustion mattered, because this festival was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The music was excellent, and even at night while sitting outside of our tent we could still hear the music pulsating through the valley. In fact, we heard a Beach Boys cover band, Korean style. We also heard Pet Shop Boys and quite a few DJs from our spot on the slope. Unfortunately, we missed the first day of the festival so sadly we did not get to see Vampire Weekend. However, we did see Mute Math put on one hell of a show. (Best song: Reset) While waiting for that show we caught Crazy for Crash, who are metal to the core and produce some pretty decent moshes. The following and final day we saw Galaxy Express who are rock stars if I ever saw them and reminded me a lot of Green Day in their mannerisms as well as showmanship. Third Eye Blind is not necessarily a band I particularly like, and I didn’t like the new heavy sound they are currently going for. However, they also produced a decent show and kept the crowd enthused. Kula Shaker is a Britpop band I wasn’t familiar with. They came onto the scene in the mid 90’s and had one catchy hit “Hush” that I’m sure most people will recognize from something somewhere. Apparently, they were much more popular internationally than in America so I may sound a little biased. Anyway, they had an excellent show and are definitely a band with a note-worthy sound. Finally, the night ended with Muse. Now I have seen Muse before back in ’06, but this was so much bigger than that. I have never seen so many lasers in my entire life. Not only that but they came in with their own screens to put on top of the existing screens to make trippy filters for the live stream of the stage. They played songs from all albums, and continued song after song to out do themselves. At the end they launched huge eyeball balloon/beach balls into the crowd.

Lastly, as we made our way back to our tent to pack up and go home the festival began the night’s final farewell firework show. It last for at least fifteen minutes and was gorgeous. Huge, expensive, beautiful glittering fireworks lighting up the night sky is an excellent way to end such a fantastic festival.

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