Jeju residents came together for the 2012 Expats in Jeju Summer Festival to showcase arts, crafts, and celebrate the island’s community with live musical performances on July 15 along the Tapdong waterfront in Jeju City.
A free event held at the Tapdong Seaside Amphitheatre, the concert was open for all to enjoy and attempted to create an environment for the exchange of culture and arts among expats and the Jeju community as a whole.
Hosted by Headline Jeju Inc., and sponsored by the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, the festival centered around the promotion of Jeju as a peaceful community where its citizens and expats live in harmony.
Starting at 3 p.m. the Heirloom5 Harvest Farmers’ Market opened outside of the amphitheatre. Available for purchase were an assortment of homemade treats, pottery, and artwork giving residents a chance to showcase their creativity and cooking skills in open-market fashion.
Following the market, the stage was brought to life from 4 to 8 p.m with musical performances ranging from accordion and cello to African drumming on the djembe. Jeju natives, expats, and tourists wandered in from the Tapdong waterfront filling the venue with dance, laughter, and a sense of community that makes Jeju a special place to call home.
In the opening ceremony that occurred during intermission, the audience enjoyed an hour long set from Jeju’s own South Carnival, a local reggae ska band formerly known as Socialism. In a nine person ensemble, their performance was filled with energy, brass, and singing from a crowd that was familiar with their uptempo sound.
The idea for the summer concert came about when Chesoon Morelli put Headline Jeju in touch with expats Jessie Dishaw and Brady Paron. Dishaw and Paron play a large role in organizing expat events and open mics on the island.
Planning for the summer festival began in early March. After Dishaw, Morelli, and Paron met with Headline Jeju to collaborate in organizing the show, a date was set, the word was out, and performance slots began to fill.
“Headline did a really great job promoting the concert and making it a big thing ... If this could happen once a year in the summer, that would be awesome,” said Paron.
Dishaw was not available for comment, due to an emergency medical operation. Donations were collected at the festival to assist with hospital costs.
Yun Cheol Soo, CEO of Headline Jeju, said that his company makes a point of covering events that involve expats on Jeju. He realized that expats have many special talents and decided that a summer festival would be a nice way to share these talents with the Jeju community in an open and friendly atmosphere.
“I hope that this festival will bring together many people under ‘Jeju love,’” said Yun in the concert pamphlet.
Members of the Jeju Special Self-Governing Provincial Council greeted the audience during the opening ceremony and stayed into the evening to enjoy the show.
“I am very touched that this kind of festival is happening in Jeju City,” said Lee Sun Hwa, Jeju Provincial Council member.
“Jeju people have to know foreigners spirit and interests so we can change our attitudes and understand each other better. I would like to have more positive events like this in the future. Maybe once in the summer and again at Christmas, so we can love each other, get to know each other, and communicate with each other,” said Lee.
“I am just so grateful to everyone with Headline News and the sound team, along with Jessie and Chesoon for the opportunity to have this event. It was such a nice way to bring people together on the island,” said Paron.