We’ll be seeing a number of accounts of the Dano Korea Summer Festival yesterday. I could have decided to exercise some executive editorial control and make sure that every aspect was covered once and once only, but instead I’m going with the flow and seeing what comes my way.
Things never happen entirely as planned anyway. For example, Saharial was stood up by the Yoon Band on Friday. Their management claimed not to have any knowledge of the interview we’d carefully booked and confirmed with them, which was disappointing given the preparation she’d put into researching the questions. Instead, Saharial has managed to get herself an exclusive interview with Noridan today, which will be coming in due course. Jennifer was out and about, interviewing random people like last year and handing out flyers for her upcoming book (cover design: right. You saw it here first). We can look forward to a lively account from her1, and further ahead we can look forward to her book. I’ll be telling you more about that soon. Peter Corbishley has sent in his viewpoint, which I will put up when I’ve found a suitable picture to illustrate it. And maybe there will be other versions of the day coming as well.
Knowing that others were going to be covering the event, I wasn’t consciously gathering material for my own account. And I was hampered by the lack of a decent camera. This was a serious impediment, and I lost a lot of opportunities. The ladies were beautifully turned out in the VIP tent, looking as elegant as anyone at Royal Ascot. They posed for a stunning group portrait… but my cellphone snapshot came out disappointingly blurred.
It was Justina Jang’s big day – hugely stressful for her, but she was coping admirably, in constant radio communication with her huge security and admin team, but looking stylish and in control, if slightly flushed in the heat of the sun (another photo which didn’t turn out very well.)
I spent the afternoon browsing round and chatting. The Yoon Band and Tomi Kita sounded better in the open air than in the more confined acoustic of the Peel (though there was certainly no lack of volume in the Square) and it was nice to have heard some of the numbers on Friday night so that they sounded more familiar. Guy Barker also went down well, particularly as he opened his set with a slow jazz interpretation of the Korean folksong Spring in my Home Town. It was disappointing that his planned collaboration with Kim Duk Soo didn’t happen this year – the diary logistics apparently hadn’t worked well on Barker’s recent trip to Korea – but Justina’s message in the printed programme hinted that it may happen next year instead.
With so many of London’s Koreans and Koreaphiles gathered together in one place at the same time, it was great just to have the opportunity to socialise on such a splendid day. Often simply overhearing snippets of conversation was as fun as the one-to-one engagements. One recently retired dignitary was heard saying “I think I’ve had enough photographs for one day”, while the new ambassador had a seemingly constant stream of people being introduced to him (me included, and I felt distinctly under-dressed for the occasion). Plans for the London visit by the Pyongyang Orchestra were aired (Suzannah Clarke was around – left, with Ambassador Chun), together with plans for the opening gala film of the Korean Film Festival later this year (my lips are sealed, but I’m certainly going to make sure I’m in London this time round).
Roaming the Square was also fun. My own highlight was chatting to “Tall Lee” of Steranko, who was crowd-surfing in Kingston on the Friday night with Yoon Do Hyun. I’ll certainly try to go along to one of their gigs in the future.
Stay tuned for some better thought-out accounts of yesterday’s Dano Korea Summer Festival, together with some decent photos.
- I realise that Jennifer’s first contribution to LKL was the Dano festival last year. Happy anniversary Jennifer, and I hope you stay with us for many more