The Korea Herald


Ansan Valley Rock Festival goes out with a bang

By Korea Herald

Published : July 29, 2013 - 19:01

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Despite scattered rain showers that forced people to trudge through heavy muddy terrain that was sludgy enough to make some in the crowd lose their shoes, the inaugural 2013 Ansan Valley Rock Festival attracted more than 50,000 rock music lovers in three days and left the crowd screaming for more. 

The three-day annual rock music fest, which was originally known as the Jisan Valley Rock Festival, relocated its stages to the Daebu Sea Breeze Theme Park in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province, for the first time this year. Despite the new name and new location, the nation’s largest and most highly anticipated summer concert series was a star-studded event featuring four different stages with more than 75 acts, including performances by internationally renowned artists such as The Cure, Skrillex, Nine Inch Nails, Vampire Weekend, The xx, Stereophonics, Fun., Foals and more.

Around 19,000 people gathered on Friday, day one of the rock fest, which featured headliners Vampire Weekend, The xx and legendary English rockers The Cure.

Vampire Weekend livened up the crowd with their signature punk pop sound including popular fan favorites “A-Punk” and “Walcott,” while The xx took to the stage and turned the tables as the sun had already begun to set, putting fans in a trance-like state with the dueling lead singers Oliver Sim and Romy Madley-Croft’s distinctively dark and eerie vocal harmonies.

After more than 35 years in the rock music industry, The Cure rose once again and concluded the Big Top Stage performances with a three-hour set, taking the audience back in time to the ’70s and ’80s singing “Just Like Heaven,” “Lovesong” and “Friday I’m in Love.”
The Cure performs at the Ansan Valley Rock Festival in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province, Friday. ( CJ E&M) The Cure performs at the Ansan Valley Rock Festival in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province, Friday. ( CJ E&M)

The following day was highlighted by the smoothly rugged voice of the U.K.’s Kelly Jones and the Stereophonics. The band came to some as a bit of a surprise, wowing the crowd with a dynamic rock set, as well as captivating the audience with the group’s blues-inspired track “Been Caught Cheating,” spotlighting Jones’ soulful vocals.

The evening was later capped off with more than 30,000 fans crowding around the stage to get a glimpse of the notorious Skrillex in his spaceship-shaped DJ booth. As one of the world’s most iconic names in electronic dance music, Skrillex electrified the entire park with his fast-tempo, heart-pumping electro beats that captivated the crowd’s youthful spirit liberated as they shouted and danced the night away.

The final day of the festival included a diverse range of headliners including the Grammy Award-winning indie poppers of Fun., the soaring rock ‘n’ roll high-pitch vocals of Ha Hyun-woo of Korea’s rock leaders Guckkasten and the masters of electronic industrial rock, Nine Inch Nails.

Trent Reznor and his Nine Inch Nails put on a thrashing performance that showed the audience members the true definition of metal rock music and had fans head banging to popular hits like “Closer,” “Only” and “The Hand that Feeds You.” The band lit up the stage with spectacular screen visuals and a shadow light show that captured the audience’s attention as the rockers concluded the festival’s big stage performance after three days of action-filled, non-stop music.

The former Jisan Valley Rock Festival was first launched in 2009 and has since brought in some of the biggest names in the international rock music industry including Radiohead, Elvis Costello and the Imposters, Muse, Incubus and Weezer as well as many local notables such as Busker Busker, 10 cm, Sister’s Barbershop and Nell.

Organizers plan to hold the summer rock festival every year at the newly established festival grounds at Daebu Sea Breeze Theme Park.

By Julie Jackson (