Revisiting the Hongdae vibe (and an unexpected encounter with Lee Soo)

Buskers in Hongdae, and possibly up-and-coming singers to watch out for. (Seoul, South Korea, 6 May 2017)

It’s been a while since I last checked out the busking scene in Hongdae, so I decided to make a trip there yesterday.

As usual, it was bustling with different groups of buskers singing, dancing, rapping or performing magic tricks. Compared to the last time I was there, there was something I wish I would see more of.

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Hongdae vibe

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.

Bands and singers on the streets of Hongdae, Seoul, South Korea

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.

Bands and singers on the streets of Hongdae, Seoul, South Korea

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.

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