South Korea has a hopeless addiction to festivals and music, so when those two elements come together, they create a mind-blowing event: Jisan Valley Rock Festival, Korea's largest music event.
Set in the gorgeous Jisan Valley Ski Resort, numerous fans lie on multicoloured picnic blankets in front of the stages. The colourful display of blankets turns to dust as soon as the headliners take to the stage and rock the night away.
The festival, which is held annually on the last weekend of July, has gathered outstanding both local and international rock stars, including Stereophonics, Radiohead, The Stone Roses, Beady Eye and My Bloody Valentine.
Over the course of three days, thousands of festival-goers sip on fun drinks and dance as there was no tomorrow or go into a frenzy when their band play.
The festival is arranged by 9Ent, which is Smash Corporation in close coordination with Japanese Fuji Rock Festival. Back in 2009, the festival's maiden year, controversies emerged regarding the festival's split from neighbouring Pentaport Rock Festival. Nevertheless, the festival's sponsor changed to Mnet media in 2010 and CJ E&M in 2011. Ever since, VRF has been successful and grown into one of South Korea's biggest music festivals.
There are three stages at the festival: the first one is a Big Top Stage, which is the main stage outside. This is where headliners perform. Another stage is a Green Stage, which is smaller than the Big Top Stage. There is also an Open Stage for amateur singers.
Tickets are restricted to four tickets per person. Ticket sales are divided into three phases. The first one is without announcements and is called Early Bird. This sale usually starts in February on the Internet. From this point until the third phase of ticket sales, headliners and other musicians are announced gradually. Festival-goers can buy either the three day passes or the day tickets. Day tickets at only available in the latest phase and camping is not available for day tickets.
Campers usually take their own tent. Catering and some retail services are provided by various small companies, usually mobile catering vans, with food stalls in the camping grounds. Since 2010, festival-goers can only buy goods or good with T-money cards.
Among the headliners and other musicians that have performed in Jisan Valley Rock Festival, there have been outstanding bands and a massive British invasion: in 2009, legendary bands such as Weezer and Oasis rocked the festival grounds. In 2010, some of the artists included one of the hottest rock bands of this millennium, Muse, as well as Pet Shop Boys, Vampire Weekend and Massive Attack. In 2011, bands like The Chemical Brothers, Arctic Monkeys and Suede performed at the festival.
In 2012, the British invasion swamped the festival with mythical bands such as Radiohead and The Stone Roses. Among the local lineup, rock group Nell was the huge standout. The lineup of the never disappoints, and 2013's lineup was also off the charts with bands such as Stereophonics, Nine Inch Nails and The Cure.