Beautiful Mint Life Festival 2012

The second stage at the Beautiful Mint Life Festival 2012. We're too old for the main stage, even in Korea.

Craig and I had a rare weekend in Seoul. I had to work Saturday, and my school thoughtfully scheduled the Saturday classes from 3-7PM, so Saturday was effectively shot. I could regale you with tales of my students straggling in up to an hour late and how it took me 30 minutes to get the guard to unlock the building, but I’m sure I’m the only one who cares.

With me unavailable, Craig went to Kimhae to see some second-tier baseball followed by a soccer match. He has a friend living in Busan who is also from Middlesbrough, so they went to the soccer together and from the sounds of it, made an evening of it. While they were out, the Boro were knocked out of the finals (to be fair, they were a long shot going in to the match), so I imagine a few drinks were consumed as to numb the pain.

Regardless, Craig was up and on the train early in the morning and arrived home mid-morning ready for a day out watching Korean indie bands. We have some camping chairs which we planned to take with us, until Craig actually started packing them– they stuck out abot 20″ above the top of his largest rucksack. I suggested we go to EMart to pick up a couple of smaller camping chairs, so off we went. An hour later, we were home still sans chairs. At that point, the gate had opened and we live an hour away, so we went with Plan B: take a taxi.

I think taxis are usually Craig’s Plan A, but I’m a bit more frugal when it comes to these things. Seoul traffic is horrendous at times and the city is quite spread out. Once you get on a highway, if traffic slows to a crawl, you can’t just have the driver pull over. I’d rather take a bus, which can bypass a lot of the traffic jams due to the dedicated bus lanes or take the subway and possibly have to stand, but get there somewhere in a known amount of time.

At any rate, we took a taxi and got to Ilsan with no issues for 30,000 won. At the gate, our bags were searched, which did not happen last year. They saw our baguette and 500ml Coke and let us pass. We later had our 1.5l bottle semi-confiscated. It’s Korea, so they didn’t just take it off us. We were excorted back to the search table where the bottle was decanted into four cups. They even provided a carrier tray of sorts. I then noticed the sign about not having “fast food” or “delivery food” inside the venue, so I was somewhat more discreet with the jamon and cheese we had brought.

You may have noticed that I’ve written quite a lot that is not about music. Last year, the music was pretty good. Pretty much all of it fit what I would have expected to hear at any random bar with live music back home. This year, I’m not sure if the festival has grown, so they were able to get bigger names, or if they changed the event’s focus in order to get a larger crowd. Regardless, there were more people and worse music. There wasn’t any dancing and the bands played instruments and didn’t seem to be lip syncing, but most of the music was what you would expect to see on American Idol– lots of ballads which showcased the various singers’ ranges.

There also was enough screaming and male/ female imbalance that I’m pretty sure most of the singers were boy band has beens trying to make it on their own as grown up performers. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I don’t particularly enjoy MOR music and I can hear Michael Jackson on the radio, if I want to. I don’t want to go to a festival and hear several of his songs being covered.

Double hip holsters look much cooler on cowboys, but at least he was suitably impressed by the bands.

All wasn’t lost. It was a beautiful day and it was fun to sit in the sun and just relax for the afternoon. When the sun started to go down, I decided that was enough, and we packed up and took a cab home. Despite the mediocre music we heard, I’m sure we’ll go back next year, if for no other reason than the weather is nice in late April and even if that music isn’t totally to our taste, it’s probably the closest we’ll get in Korea.

We had the best seats in the house.

Next weekend, we are going to see Morrisey. I expect I’ll enjoy the music a lot more and the atmosphere a lot less.