Big Day South a cultural showcase in Ulsan

Big Day South a cultural showcase in Ulsan
Cindi L’Abbe will be among the performers at the Big Day South Festival on April 24-26.

After a successful run last year, the Big Day South Festival will return this month, with a three-day artistic showcase in Ulsan.

The festival was set up last year by Ali Safavi and Philip Brett as a showcase of creativity in the south of the country.

Last year's festival was in Daegu, featuring bands, acoustic performances and printing and art showcases alongside interactive art activities.

"We just wanted to take it on the road," said Safavi, who is based in Daegu and organises music shows in his spare time. "We never felt it should stay in Daegu. We've found actually that the creativity in Ulsan has come on in leaps and bounds."

Brett, who runs online arts magazine Angle in Ulsan, agreed.

"It's only really starting to grow in terms of culture and this type of event, with new galleries opening up," he said.

"It just felt like it was a good time to bring it here."

Last year's festival was based around two main venues, but the organizers this year have expanded the number of venues to showcase a broader range of styles. At the same time, the venues are closer to each other to create more of a festival feel.

"This time the venues and galleries are all essentially within one block so it's a perfect opportunity to showcase different styles," said Brett.

The organizers have also cast their net wider, adding acts from Gwangju, Jeonju and Daejeon to the mix of local acts. There is also a wider range of creativity on display, with six exhibitions this time, as well as theatre, spoken word and performance art.

"Going forward we just want to expand it a bit more and show more creative things that are happening down here," said Safavi. "Last year there was no theatre, there was no photography, we had no exhibitions, so this year we are trying to be as creative as we can."

They also avoided repeating bands from the previous festival to maximise opportunities to get involved.

"Our criteria is that we didn't want to have people that performed last year. We wanted to give the other people the chance to perform, and also some people wanted to perform last year but couldn't," said Safavi.

"I hope it shows the range of talent we have down here that we can have two large festivals and have almost none of the same acts performing at each one."

The organizers say that the variety of acts and venues and the interactive performances creates a different feel to other festivals in the city.

"It's much more interactive. You can get involved with the bands or performers. Everyone can get involved. It's much more relaxed, much more casual style," he said.

The event starts on April 24 with music at Sticky Fingers Bar.

Then there will be events through the day on April 25 at Mo'im Gallery and the Royal Anchor, as well as live painting on Culture Street.

The festival finishes up on April 26 with music at I'm Gourmet and drama at Sokukjang Pureungashi Theatre.

There will also be weekend-long exhibitions of photography and other art in Mo'im and other galleries.

A weekend pass for the festival is 20,000 won (S$25). For more information, visit

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