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Chungjang Town of Gwangju hosts Nostalgic 1970s-80s Recollection FestivalWith interesting events on Oct. 8-12, 2014

Attracting interest of visitors and tourists, the 11th 7080 Chungjang Recollection Festival will be held in the Gwangju Metropolitan City, the major city in southwestern region of Korea, for 5 days from October 8 to October 12, 2014. Under the theme of ‘Recollection and Soaring Growth’, the unique participatory festival of street culture and arts will feature cultural performances, parades, exhibitions, contests and other activities that will lead middle-aged or older people to recollect their past life in the 1970s and 1980s while helping younger generations see life of their parent generations. Aiming to develop it into an international event in this year, the Festival will be held in downtown districts of Gwangju, including the Asian Culture Complex, Chungjang-ro, Geumnam-ro and artistic street.

▲Opening ceremony of the Chungjang Town Festival which features various aspects of the ?ood Old Days?in the 197
0s and 1980s. The two decades encompass a period of great turbulence where the Korean people successfully uns
hackled themselves from the chronic poverty of millennia and created a distinctly different mode of life among the
people. The Festival recollects the difficult times experienced by he people two decades ago.

Leveraging experiences and knowhow accumulated in the past decade, the Festival in this year is designed to express the unique cultural feature of Gwangju, promote cultural consensus and bond of unity among citizens, and to provide chances of enjoying leisure and traditional culture to the audience. Its programs will include performances by international performing art groups, world culture lounge, award-winning musical gala show, recitals of super star singers, disk jockey festival, creativity contests and flash mob dances. Unlike previous festivals, the 11th Festival will be joined by high-level international cultural performance troupes from 7 countries, including China, Japan, Russia, Egypt, Indonesia and Kazakhstan. It will also be taken part by a host of international audience including tourist groups from China and Japan.

▲Grownups wear nostalgic high school uniforms to reminisce the ?ood old days in the 1970s and 80s.

Notably, street parades will be participated by college student teams and foreigners’ teams, and some 2,000 popular artists and audience will perform the ‘Chungjang Dance’ together every day during the festival period at the Geumnam-ro Plaza. Moreover, more than 3,000 participants are expected to perform flash mob dances on streets in Geumnam-ro on October 9. Relevant music videos and a video for learning the ‘Chungjang Dance’ are available on the website of the Festival, Internet portal site and YouTube. The festival organizing committee will build theme streets of recollection with stories, emulating those existed in the 1970s and 1980s.

▲A Gossaum Game which is a competition which in the past was participated by the village youths from different loc
alities. It is one of the Important Intangible Cultural Asset of the Republic of Korea.

Theme streets of recollection will showcase reminiscent school uniforms and book bags used by parents during their school days, a police station where high school girls and policemen fussed over length of skirts, as well as local snacks, rice puffs, and tea rooms with disk jockey. Magnificent parades of a variety of local and international cultural and artistic groups, such as Korean traditional folk art groups, performing art groups, and motor cycles, will continue for 3 hours on Geumnam-ro street in length of about 2 kilometers, led by a marching band, military band and cheer leaders. In the course of these parades, thousands of people will perform flash mob dances at several places. The opening ceremony of the Festival will be highlighted by an award-winning musical gala show and a performance on an unprecedentedly large stage. And, foreign artistic groups will present their folk music and dances on stages, while providing their unique traditional foods.

▲Women dance in a traditional Korean Ganggangsullae Circle Dance. Legend has it that during the Japanese Hidey
oshi Invasion of Korea, women danced Ganggangsullae to frighten away the invading Japanese troops with an over
whelming number.

In addition, auctions of precious collections of celebrities and artists will be made on the artists’ street and galleries for those who are interested in such artistic works. The Festival will be held in tandem with the Media Art Festival, film festival for youth and a culture market for women. Visitors also can experience fun of treasure hunting at several places at the festival venue. Stores near the venue will offer discounts for quality commodities.

▲photo shows a dragon dance parade forming a part of a long procession.

The Chungjang Recollection Festival was inaugurated in October 2004 against the backdrop of vibrant central districts of Gwangju with full of youth and romances in the past. Up until the 1980s, central districts comprising Chungjang-ro and Geumnam-ro had enjoyed reputation as the busiest streets in the Honam region where major administrative, financial and commercial organizations were concentrated. But these areas became hollow due to development of new towns on its outskirts.

▲photo shows young kids in Taekwondo self-defense art uniforms.

Last year, the festival organizing committee successfully held the 10th Chungjang Recollection Festival with well-organized and diversified programs that could be enjoyed by all generations and levels, crossing regions. Programs included operation of reminiscent theme streets, national contest of street parades with augmented story-based performance, performance of creative arts, and a variety of other participatory programs. Among them, the contest of street parades was taken part by over 10,000 members of 100 teams, showing incomparably splendid spectacles. Theme streets reproduced scenes of the 1970s and 1980s, such as a primary school, tea rooms, a music hall, a narrow newly-weds’ room, ‘bibimbap’ (cooked rise mixed with greens, meat and fried egg) in brass bowls, silent-film with narrator, and a comic book store. To encourage participation and creativity of youth, the Festival also hosted contest of creative art performances, K-POP performance, DJ festival and student festival of culture and arts.

▲Street parade with the warriors of the olden times, performing artists and various other people encompassing the present and past.

Chairman Pak Heung-seok of the Festival Organizing Committee said, “The 11th Chungjang Recollection Festival will present recollection to middle-aged generations who grew in the 1970s and 1980s and curiosity on the past to growing young generations, while contributing to globalizing Gwangju. We expect the festival will attract an audience of about 4 million in this year.”

Gwangju is known as a city of arts and has given birth to many artists including masters of pansori, a traditional Korean song, Oriental painters, and poets. On top of this, Gwangju hosts the Gwangju Biennale and the Design Biennale, which are international festivals of modern art and design, transforming itself as a cultural hub of Asia. Gwangju has tried to renew itself as a hub of Asian culture through a long-term project (2003~2023). Other major festivals being held in Gwangju include Gwangju Kimchi Festival, Im Bang-ul Korean Traditional Music Festival, and Gwangju Jeong Yul-seong International Music Festival.

이경식 기자  edt@koreapost.com

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