Go to contents

Outdoor music festivals are still halfway back to normal

Outdoor music festivals are still halfway back to normal

Posted October. 26, 2022 07:43,   

Updated October. 26, 2022 07:56


This year's outdoor music festival has resumed in three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, yet disappointing. The audience was delighted in joy at the comeback of festivals, but the cast lineup and composition could have been better than pre-COVID-19.

“Slow Life Slow Live 2022 (SLSL),” held from Oct. 8 and 10, seemed somewhat lacking in its lineup compared to the past. Compared to the world-famous pop star Sting, who was the headliner in 2019, this year’s headliners were LANY, Anne-Marie, and Lauv, making this year’s SLSL lineup a bit modest at best. "Even if you add up all the fees paid to the singers invited this year, it would be less expensive than the cost spent on casting Sting," a festival official said,

The number of foreign artists also decreased. Fourteen teams from Japan, Hungary, and the U.K. performed on the stage at the 2019 "DMZ Peace Train Music Festival," but this year, there were only seven teams, including HYBS and Starcrawler.

There was also a tendency for festivals to focus on popularity to recoup their three-year profit losses. “As the exchange rate spiked due to COVID-19, the cost of inviting foreign artists has skyrocketed as well,” said an official from Private Curve, who planned SLSL. “This year’s lineup of pop singers is composed of those who make the stronger appeal to the heartstrings of the younger generation.”

The tight invitation schedule due to the pandemic was also a factor. Peace Train was originally scheduled to cast John Cale of the band "The Velvet Underground" and Glen Matlock of the legendary rock band "Sex Pistols," but canceled due to their tight schedule. “Preparations to invite famous artists need to begin as early as a year before the festival,” said Kim Miso, general director of Peace Train. “Unfortunately, their visit to Korea was canceled because the decision to resume outdoor music festivals was made in August when Covid-19 was still around.”

Will the outdoor music festivals be held next year as they did in the past? “From next year, the lineup of non-Korean musicians will make or break the fate of domestic music festivals,” a festival official projected.

Jae-Hee Kim jetti@donga.com