I really love the vibe in Hongdae.
Hongdae is the area surrounding Hongik University – known for its school of fine arts and design – and has a vibrant urban art and indie music culture. It is also the centre of Seoul’s nightlife.
I had visited Hongdae in the day on a previous trip to South Korea but it was only on my recent trip that I discovered the essence of Hongdae.
Initially, I was only planning to check out the flea market and clubs. But as I was walking around the area in the evening, I began to see bands and performers setting up their amplifiers and performing on the spot.
This band (above) seemed to be really popular. They had the biggest crowd listening to them, and the audience could not get enough of them and their funny antics. They even had fishing nets to collect tips at the end of their performance.
Among the performers I came across in Hongdae, I stayed the longest to listen to this duo (above). The young man on the right has a really good voice, and is pretty good on the guitar. They had their own fans too – one buying them coffee and another giving them a hot pack on a night when the temperature dropped very low.
Apart from bands, there were also solo performers like this guy (above).
The guitarist-cum-vocalist among this trio (above) was really good on the guitar. I did not really dig their music but there were many who did.
I loved the vibe in Hongdae so much that I went back there on my last night in South Korea. I was hoping to catch the duo (above) and was delighted to be able to hear the young man sing again. It was also nice to see, when a man in suit enjoyed their performance so much that he even sang along and gave them a good tip.
In a way, there’s competition among the performers but there’s also mutual admiration. The duo and the trio ended up jamming together (above).
When you are in Seoul, I’d recommend checking out Hongdae and soaking in the music scene in the evening. And don’t forget to leave a tip if you enjoy the performance!