The Wonderfully Random HBC Fest

All types are welcome in the formerly little-known (which is kinda how the locals liked it) expat neighbourhood of Haebangchon (Freedom Village). Twice a year though, the street erupts in a drunken frenzy of drunken frenziness… with live music! 

The festival is generally just a weekend of crazy – it started modestly in 2006 when a few expats decided to entertain their friends in the (then) few local bars. A few years later there were dozens of wide-eyed, young Korean cops, who had never encountered so many foreigners in their lives, trying to maintain some semblance of order among the few thousand very drunk expats in weird outfits. It’s all good fun.

People like to get there early, so as not to miss out on any of the excellent live music. Most of the revelers don’t seem to actually catch any music at all.

There will be interesting and/or somewhat deranged people there that you may or may not enjoy drinking a few beers with.

People kept coming, more every year, apparently oblivious to the fact that it is actually a music festival, and that the music is being performed inside the bars. The cars, taxis and buses continue to refuse not to drive down the narrow laneway, even if the two-block drive takes 90 minutes. It became a tourist attraction, for Koreans who drive slowly past, with cameras open and car doors locked.

The ever-vigilant officials appear not to mind the local action.

Proprietors of local businesses dress as they usually do.

People have a couple of drinks…And there’s music! Lots of cool live music!

I played at about 7 HBC Fests, in venues that probably don’t exist now, as they’ve all apparently been turned into cool hipster burger/pizza/microbrew joints. I miss the old HBC though. Have a good one guys.

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