The crowd jumps in time with the music at Rainbow Island Music and Camping on Nami Island on Saturday. (Rainbow Island Music and Camping)
Rainbow Island Music and Camping brings together fans, music & nature
NAMI ISLAND ― The fresh scent of pine trees and strains of lighthearted music greeted guests of Rainbow Island Music and Camping as soon as they began walking through the trees on Nami Island to reach the festival grounds.
It seemed as though nature and music were intricately woven together at the event, with concert-goers enjoying their favorite bands from among the trees.
They may have come to catch the likes of Jason Mraz, Busker Busker, Lee Seung-hwan and Christina Perri, but it was obvious that Nami Island itself took center stage, providing a refreshing and relaxed backdrop for the festival.
The setting was unique. Instead of the wide open spaces that are the norm for outdoor music festivals, the various stages and eating zones were interspersed in the few clearings in the forest that covers Nami Island, giving the festival a relaxed and mellow atmosphere. Some concertgoers said they felt like modern-day hippies at a modern-day Woodstock as they sat on picnic mats below the trees and swayed to the music.
Korean indie band Busker Busker had the entire clearing jumping and dancing during their set at the Island Stage on Saturday. They played crowd favorites such as “Cherry Blossom Ending,” and their bubbly songs made the summer evening feel like a spring day.
But the main event was undoubtedly American singer-songwriter Jason Mraz on the Rainbow Stage Saturday night.
Mraz took to the stage smiling and thanking the Korean audience for inviting him. He donned a hat and a T-shirt that said “pyeonghwa” or peace, much to the delight of his cheering fans.
American singer-songwriter Jason Mraz (right) plays alongside his band’s guitarist at Rainbow Island Music and Camping on Nami Island, Saturday night. (Emma Kalka/The Korea Herald)
Love was the clear theme of the night as Mraz played songs from his latest album, “Love is a Four Letter Word,” and some of his old favorites such as “Lucky” and “You and I.” The audience sang along, alternating between dancing and swaying to the music.
Continuing with the love theme, Mraz took time between songs to remind his fans that they should love nature as well. He lauded Nami Island for using recycled products in many of its facilities and the reforestation project that made the island the attraction it is today.
“Lovin’ the land. Just like lovin’ your other hand. Gotta love your whole self,” he said, reminding fans to love nature as they love themselves, a common theme of the festival.
Carys Jones, an expat from the U.K., said she felt the island was a great place for the festival.
“It was a great setting and atmosphere,” she said after Saturday night’s festivities ended. “Nami is beautiful. Jason Mraz put on a good show, although his music really isn’t my thing.”
Despite its beauty, the forest setting worked against the festival in some ways. Because of the numerous trees, the area around the Rainbow Stage, the festival’s main stage, was almost too small for the large crowd. Since the viewing area was small, it filled quickly, making it difficult to move around to find a better or more comfortable spot. To remedy the situation, the organizers set up large screens at the back of the clearing for those who couldn’t maneuver their way closer to the stage.
Logistics was another problem for the festival. On Saturday, even before headliner Jason Mraz’s set had even finished, about 200 people were already lined up for taxis. There were no shuttle or local buses running from the ferry dock to the nearby train station or bus terminal. Many were forced to walk 30 to 40 minutes to the closest public transportation, meaning that if you stayed until the end of the show, there was no way to make it out of the city before the last bus.
The best scenario for attending all the performances at Rainbow Island Music and Camping is to either attend both days and camp on the island or bring a car.
The Rainbow Island Music and Camping festival ran June 9 and 10, staging 20 bands or groups each day between the three stages. This was the festival’s second year.
By Emma Kalka (email@example.com