Friday 1 April 2016

Seoul Drum Festival By Ginger Yapp, Demand Media

The Seoul Drum Festival is held annually in September or October.

The Seoul Drum Festival (, one of South Korea's biggest cultural events, got its start in 1999. Held in the Asian nation's capital city once a year, the festival attracts drummers and other music lovers from around the world. Events include performances, workshops, exhibits, children's activities and parades.


The first annual Seoul Drum Festival was held in September of 1999. The event has changed venues several times over the years, starting at Sejong Center for the Performing Arts before making it to other locations in the city such as Hangang Park, Seoul Forest and Seoul Plaza. The event is put together by the South Korean government, which creates a committee made up of musicians, arts professors and cultural arts boosters to organize and manage the festival.

Participants and Spectators

Teams from all over the world compete at the Seoul Drum Festival; anywhere from five to 15 international teams arrive at the yearly festival to compete against up to 15 teams hailing from Korea. Over the course of the event's history, teams have traveled from countries including Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Kosovo, China, Japan, France, India, Taiwan and the United States to perform. Admission to the festival is free.

Events and Activities

The festival typically starts with an opening ceremony, with performances by the Korean team as well as international groups. Other components of the festival have included a competition for amateur artists, and performances by drummers from Korean high schools. The Seoul Drum Fest has also curated interactive, educational exhibits like 2011's "Tong! Tong! Experience Zone," which featured over 1,200 instruments from 600 countries. Festival-goers can also attend workshops led by experts.

Styles of Drumming

Performances by the participating Korean groups range from traditional routines to more contemporary styles. From the rock-and-roll performance of Doodrock to the theatrical antics of Nanta to the ceremonial demonstration by the Traditional Honor Guard of the Ministry of National Defense, the Seoul Drum Festival covers all genres. Many of the visiting international groups showcase traditional forms of culture from their countries, such as Mexico's Compania Nacional de Danza Folklorica and Brazil's Bumba Meu Boi de Morros.
*Culled from

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