Seoul’s Gangnam is hosting its annual month-long hallyu bash starting Thursday, presenting a K-pop concert, fashion shows and an international marathon for both expats and locals starting Thursday.
Marking its seventh edition this year, the Gangnam Festival celebrates hallyu culture as well as a marathon that welcomes expats, foreign tourists and local residents to run together.
Gangnam gained worldwide attention last year as Psy’s “Gangnam Style” became the first YouTube video to reach 1 billion views. Last year, the Gangnam Festival’s sixth edition attracted more than 30,000 foreign visitors.
Starting in 2007 as a little-known fashion show, the festival has evolved into a large-scale hallyu event. The festival will kick off with the 11th International Peace Marathon, which is expected to draw more than 10,000 participants, including running enthusiasts as well as U.S. forces stationed in Korea.
Naturalized Korean lawyer and television personality Robert Holley, who also serves as a promotional ambassador of Gangnam, will also participate in the marathon.
The race will kick off at 8 a.m. on Thursday in front of Coex in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul. Several courses are available including a full marathon, a half marathon and a 5-kilometer run. The registration fee of 20,000 won will be donated to the less fortunate through UNICEF and local charity organization Community Chest of Korea.
The festival is also known for its fashion events, which are held annually in an attempt to promote Gangnam’s fashion districts such as Cheongdam-dong and Apgujeong-dong, to a global audience.
Under the slogan “Enjoy Fashion!” this year’s fashion lineup will feature a wide range of programs including fashion shows, a concert, a rookie fashion contest and the fashion market from Oct. 3 to 5 at Coex G20 Square. Featured designers include Choi Chul-yong and Lee Seung-hee.
The highlight of the festival will be a K-pop concert scheduled on Oct. 6 at a special stage on Yeongdong Street in Samseong-dong.
The two-hour concert will feature some of the most prominent K-pop stars, including SHINee, INFINITE, EXO and Girl’s Day. The groups are performing for the special event for free, according to the organizers. Last year’s concert, headlined by Girls’ Generation and Super Junior, attracted more than 30,000 spectators.
Major department stores, shopping centers, hotels and restaurants will offer up to a 60 percent discount during the festival period as part of the Gangnam Grand Sale held throughout October. A total of 270 Gangnam-based department stores, hotels and shopping centers are participating in the event.
“We hope the Gangnam Festival will evolve into an international event, though it started off as a community event,” said Gangnam District Mayor Shin Yeon-hee. “And we hope to see Gangnam evolving into a city that represents Korea and hallyu.”
The festival runs from Oct. 3 to 31 at a number of venues in Gangnam. For more information, visit www.gangnam.go.kr.
By Claire Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)