For the international contemporary live music industry

DMZ bridges the divide

Festival News
June 22, 2018
Martin Elbourne

SET in a disused railway station on the border between North and South Korea the DMZ Peace Train Music Festival (cap. 5,000) may be one of the most ambitious festivals ever staged.

Due to take place at Wolijeong train station in the Korean Demilitarisation Zone (DMZ), the event has been given the go-ahead following the improved recent relations between the two countries. Those behind the project include booker for the UK’s Glastonbury (140,000) Martin Elbourne, artiste manager Stephen Budd and organisers of Korea’s Zandari festival.

“I was in Korea for Mucon and Zandari and on a day off ended up at the disused railway station,” says Elbourne. “I thought it would make a great site for a festival as there are lots of facilities and also barbed wire fences. Bands would love to say they played DMZ.”

With the Zandari team on board and the backing of the mayor of Seoul, the festival is due to be staged from 23-24 June. Entry is free, with a heavily Korean line-up including Crying Nut and Life and Time, along with western acts such as Newton Faulkner and Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5.

“I see it as an annual event, but I guess it’s too early to say and there is lots of politics involved,” says Elbourne. “The site could hold 50,000-60,000 people.”

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