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[Herald Review] Seoul Forest carried away by jazz music

Over the weekend, jazz music took over Seoul Forest, a park in eastern Seoul.

The third Seoul Forest Jazz Festival took place Saturday and Sunday, and one of the highlights was a performance by the legendary jazz vocalist Park Sung-yeon. Park paved the way for jazz musicians in South Korea with Janus, the first jazz-only club in the country.
Seoul Forest Jazz Festival (Page Turner)
Seoul Forest Jazz Festival (Page Turner)

At 76, Park appeared onstage in a wheelchair but her voice was as powerful as ever, with soulful touches that gave the songs a sorrowful yet beautiful quality.

Jazz pianist Im Bo-ra lifted the mood with soft piano melodies from French director Michel Gondry’s films.

Singer-songwriter Kim Hyun-chul wrapped up the first day of the festival. Unlike the artists who took to the stage before him, Kim and his band presented well-known pop hits such as “Down Falling of the Moon” and “The Blue in You.” The crowd sang along.

The following day saw Swiss jazz pianist Christoph Stiefel performing in Korea for the first time, followed by jazz band Salon d’O, pianist Jung Jae-hyung, vocalist Sunwoojunga and more.

Compared with other jazz festivals such as the Seoul Jazz Festival and the Jarasum International Jazz Festival, the Seoul Forest Jazz Festival could not boast an exciting lineup stacked with big-name artists.

Moreover, as the Sunset Forest Stage and the Dear Deer Stage were located in the same plaza, the audience had to move around with their picnic mats to see each performance.

But the festival was much less crowded than the other outdoor music festivals, so there was plenty of space to spread out a picnic mat. Also, the shade of Seoul Forest with all its greenery was the perfect venue for a peaceful getaway in the heart of the city for families and friends.

A bonus for festivalgoers was the Seoul Forest Jazz Marching Parade. The marching band went around the festival venue, inviting attendees to dance along to the music.

By Im Eun-byel (