Korean Cultural Centre UK Hosts First ‘Korean Day’ Festival in Liverpool and Leeds

– Korean Cultural Festival Held in UNESCO City of Music, Liverpool 
– Leeds ‘Korean Day’ Festival Features a Blend of Traditional Korean Music and K-Hip Hop

The Korean Cultural Centre UK (Director Sun Seung-Hye) successfully hosted ‘Korean Day’ festivals in Liverpool on Saturday, June 1, and in Leeds from Thursday, June 13 to Friday, June 14. The festivals took place in the northern UK cities of Liverpool, known as the hometown of The Beatles and a UNESCO City of Music, and Leeds, home to the largest music university in the UK. The events garnered significant attention with themes focused on the music industry and music therapy.

On Friday, June 14, Leeds Mayor Abigail Marshall Katung visited the ‘Korean Day’ festival held at the University of Leeds’ School of Music. Mayor Marshall Katung participated in Korean music workshops and cultural experience booths, expressing her excitement: “This ‘Korean Day’ event highlights Leeds’ commitment to being a diverse and inclusive cultural society. It’s wonderful to enjoy the richness of Korean culture here in Leeds.”

Sun Seung-Hye, Director of the Korean Cultural Centre UK, emphasized the significance of the event, saying, “Korean aesthetics expand through diversity and inclusiveness. By pursuing professionalism with themes of the music industry and music therapy, we shared the humanistic values of Korean aesthetics with the local British community. Korean culture is becoming a solid foundation in UK-Korea relations.”

The Liverpool ‘Korean Day’ festival on June 1 featured a variety of lectures, including a talk on the Korean Wave industry in the UK by Connor Cockbain, Community Manager at Warner Music Group, a lecture on Korean pop culture by Professor Hye-Kyung Um from the University of Liverpool, and a lecture on Korean cinema by Professor Jae-Wook Ryu from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). Notably, Connor Cockbain not only gave a lecture but also actively participated in a K-pop dance workshop, learning dance moves with the festival attendees. 

The Liverpool festival, attended by over 100 participants, included various programs such as K-pop dance workshops, K-pop band performances, traditional Korean clothing (Hanbok), and traditional games, allowing attendees to experience and enjoy Korean culture. One participant, who is planning to visit Korea soon, shared their excitement: “It’s great to have an event where I can experience Korean culture in one place before visiting Korea.”

The Leeds ‘Korean Day’ festival, held over two days on June 13-14, was themed ‘Korean Music and Community Wellbeing.’ It was organized in collaboration with Professor Hyun-Ah Cho from the University of Leeds, the Korean Cultural Centre UK, and the Academy of Korean Studies.

The festival featured a wide range of performances and workshops, including traditional Korean music and K-Hip Hop. The traditional music performance by ‘Joseon Pungnyu Jeong,’ composed of masters in Gayageum, Daegeum, Haegeum, vocal music, and dance from the National Gugak Center, took place at the concert hall of the School of Music on Thursday, June 13. They performed pieces such as Youngsinheemun from Jongmyo Jeryeak, Daegeum Cheongsonggok, Yeongsanhoesang, Sanjo Hapjoo, and Arirang. K-Hip Hop artist James An performed on Friday, June 14, at the University of Leeds Students’ Union.

The second day of the Leeds festival on June 14 featured various workshops, including Korean music, K-Hip Hop, Korean patchwork (Jogakbo), Korean culture and language, and K-Pop dance workshops. Additionally, James An delivered a special lecture on the Korean hip-hop industry, Professor Sun-Hee Koo from the University of Auckland in New Zealand gave a lecture on the background of Korean music, and a K-pop contest was held.

One attendee of the Korean music workshop remarked, “The traditional Korean music performance on the first day was truly impressive, and it was wonderful to learn the folk songs performed. It’s exciting and fascinating to enjoy such a diverse range of Korean culture here in Leeds.”

The Korean Cultural Centre UK hosts 4-5 ‘Korean Day’ events throughout the year and plans to continue expanding Korean culture in the UK through festivals focused on various themes, including Korean culture, the music industry, and K-pop, in collaboration with major universities and institutions in the UK.