LKL didn’t make it to this year’s London Korean Festival at Olympia. Saturdays are precious, and I needed to spend this particular Saturday at the KCC doing background research on the current exhibition and upcoming film series which hopefully will inform my write-ups.
In-depth reports of the Festival are now available on a couple of Korea-related blogs: Diya on Korea has the most comprehensive coverage, with a focus on the cultural experiences that were available upstairs at the exhibition hall together with the evening K-pop gig, while United Kpop covers the performances downstairs during the day as well as the evening gig.
The daytime events had a nice relaxed feel, with the downstairs carpeted with astroturf to make it feel like you were picnicking in a park – maybe next year that’s where the festival will be, to enable greater numbers to come and go…
The evening was good value at £30 – much of the cost of bringing the stars over was footed by Feel Korea, meaning that the youthful audience could enjoy the event without making too much of a dent on their bank balances. The KCC has been learning some valuable lessons in terms of managing bookings in a scenario where they have limited control over their own website (did you ever try booking one of their screenings when they had that terrible system involving lots of pop-up windows?) and have sensibly now outsourced their booking system to Eventbrite. As a result they now have thousands of email addresses to go on their distribution list for marketing future events. Smart move.
Yes there were queues outside because some hadn’t booked their day tickets in advance; and because people always turn up to K-pop concerts early to bag the best positions in the standing area; and yes there were queues inside to get upstairs to the food stalls. But feedback from visitors was that the staff and security were efficient and courteous. And at the end of the day people seem to have enjoyed themselves while the KCC has got an expanded mailing list of people interested in Korean popular culture. Success all round.