[Herald Review] Rockin’ in the rain

By Korea Herald

Pentaport music fest wraps up ninth year

  • Published : Aug 4, 2014 - 20:57
  • Updated : Aug 4, 2014 - 20:57
The sweat-dousing, sauna-like humid weather and Typhoon Nakri’s heavy rains did not top tens of thousands of rock lovers from flocking to Penta Park in Incheon over the weekend to attend the annual Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival.

With a near decade-long run, Pentaport is still one of the country’s most attended summer festivals. The three-day event brought around 80 acts this year, including headlining overseas acts Kasabian and Travis as well as local pop rock icon Lee Seung-hwan. 
English rock band Kasabian performs at the 2014 Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival on Aug. 2. (Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival)

Popular Scottish rock band Travis returned to Korea only five months after holding a solo concert at Olympic Hall in March.

As a band that over the decades always seemed fly just under the radar compared to most other notable U.K. bands of Travis’ caliber, the rockers are still often credited for having influenced iconic Brit bands such as Coldplay and Keane.

Led by Fran Healy on vocals, Travis was the festival’s closing headline act on Sunday, performing for nearly an hour and a half in a 17-song set that included its iconic hits “Flower in the Window,” “Where you Stand,” “Why Does it Always Rain on Me?” and “Closer.” Despite the downpour, fans still tossed paper airplanes toward the stage during the band’s performance of “Closer” ― a surreal moment for audience members to gaze at the myriad of paper planes flying through the rain.

Kasabian, Pentaport’s Saturday headline act, was a breath of fresh air as one of the most recognizable names on this year’s lineup. Fresh off the release of the English band’s latest album “48:13,” the members took to the stage opening with “Bumblebee” and performing other popular tunes such as “Eez-eh,” the lead track off their new album, as well as fan favorites “Fire,” “L.S.F.,” “Clubfoot” and “Underdog.” The rock stars ended their rock-out set with fans waving their hands in the air and chanting the chorus line to the classic Beatles tune, “All You Need is Love.”

Despite the inclusion of internationally respected bands such as Travis and Kasabian, this year’s lineup failed to haul in as heavy-hitting names as rival summer festivals such as Hyundai Card Citybreak and AIA, which are bringing mainstream acts like Ozzy Osbourne, Maroon 5 and Lady Gaga. Even when compared to Pentaport’s past lineups ― featuring acts such as The Strokes, Placebo, Black Eyed Peas, Korn and Muse ― this year’s event would land in the good-but-somewhat-disappointing column.

One of the main distinctions of this year’s Pentport and the upcoming City Break fest will most likely be the secondary acts. The rivaling Hyundai Card two-day concert is promising well-known secondary acts such as Richie Sambora, Deftones, Hoobastank, New Found Glory, Lupe Fiasco and K-pop star Psy.

Pentaport featured less popular mainstage performances from American punk rock band Boys Like Girls ― who were left with repeating its past-time 2007 hit “The Great Escape” multiple times ― and locally lesser-known English rock band Starsailor, who seemed to be something of an unexpected pleasant discovery for some.

On the other hand, Pentaport did bring in some of the country’s biggest indie band acts with performances by local favorites Daybreak, Bulldog Mansion, PIA, Romantic Punch, IDOTAPE, Urban Zakapa and more. However, it’s no secret that with ticket prices that are not light on the wallet, the overseas acts are what can make or break any local summer music festival.

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)