‘Together’ at Kingston Korean Festival 2013
16th Annual Kingston Korean Festival, which is organized by Korean Residents Society, was held on 17th August. The festival’s aim is to introduce the Korean culture to local and multi-cultural communities. This special event also celebrated the 60th anniversary of the ceasefire of Korean War, Why this year’s theme is ‘Together’? This year marks the 130years of friendship between the UK and South Korea. The meaning behind ‘Together’ is helping and supporting each other among different communities.
The following event programme is as followed:
- Liberation Day & Festival Opening Ceremony
- British Veterans’ parade & honorary events
- Korean traditional music and dance
- Martial Arts performance
- African Drumming
- Korean Brass quintet
- Traditional Nepalese Dance
- K-pop Performances
- Raffle prize draw
Although I didn’t attend last year’s Kingston Korean Festival, I heard that it was quite successful. So, I decided to head over to Kingston to check it out.
British Veterans Parade
I came early in the morning to watch the British Veteran’s parade and honorary events. While the British Veterans were marching along, I felt the strong tense but proud that they have been helping the people in need during the Korean War. Then, the Republic of Korea’s national anthem and moments of silence were followed. This is one of the most memorable experiences I have ever had.
However, the festival didn’t meet my expectations. There were food stalls that sold lots of Korean food and drinks but there were not many to choose from. I did see tteokbokki, bulgogi, japchae, Korean snacks, aloe vera drink and others. Yet, I was expecting more than that.
Due to the rainy and cloudy weather, the mood of the festival seemed to be down. There was one time that when there was a heavy rain, most of the visitors have to find shelter to avoid getting totally wet. The beer garden was fine as people can buy their drinks, sit on the grass and enjoy the performances.
Unfortunately, the arrangement of performances was not as same as the schedule. The performances are changed from one to another. Although the schedule said that the most of performances will be shown twice, they only show once. Between each performance, the stage crew had to take some time to set up and it was quite long.
Traditional Korean Folk Games and Flea Market
As for the flea markets, the good thing is that I get to see various handicrafts that are interesting. I enjoyed the traditional Korean folk games. People had the opportunity to participate in the games and win prizes like YooYoo, who is a cute little cartoon character.
I should have gone to last year’s Korean Kingston Festival. I feel that the quality of this festival has slightly dropped especially when organising events in accordingly. Even worse, the rain has got in their way of making the festival successful. Some performances, like gayageum, are amazing but there were some mess ups in terms of taking time to set up for the next performance. The British Veteran’s parade and honorary events is the only program that I enjoyed. Although my energy was drained from hanging around at Kingston, I was not impressed with the festival. Next year, I hope that the festival can be even better than this year.