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New music festival planned for Korean DMZ

The free DMZ Peace Train festival will feature performers from both Koreas, as well as international acts, and take place near the heavily fortified demilitarised zone

By Jon Chapple on 03 May 2018

The Hantan river in Goseokjeong, near the DMZ

The Hantan river in Goseokjeong, near the DMZ

image © Scott Rotzoll

Not content with helping along the Middle East peace process with Palestine Music Expo (PMX), the live music business has now turned its attention to the Korean border with plans for the first-ever international music festival near the demilitarised zone (DMZ) that separates North and South.

The free DMZ Peace Train Music Festival will be the largest music event ever held within view of the DMZ – which has since the end of the Korean War in 1953 served as a buffer zone between communist North Korea and the democratic South – and will feature performances from artists from both Koreas, as well as Taiwan, Britain, France, Japan and Israel/Palestine, across two stages at Goseokjeong, around two miles from the border.

The event is a joint venture between the governor of Gangwon province and the University of Seoul, with an advisory group comprising a host of UK execs, including the Great Escape founder Martin Elbourne, Sound Diplomacy’s Shain Shapiro, Cooking Vinyl’s Martin Goldschmidt and Stephen Budd of Africa Express, NH7 Weekender and Amnesty International’s Give a Home, many of whom are also involved in PMX.

The festival takes place on 23 and 24 June, and will be preceded by a Sound Diplomacy-organised conference focusing on the role of music in conflict resolution.

The launch of the DMZ festival follows news that North and South Korea will compete jointly at the forthcoming Asian Games, and “hopes to create another moment that symbolises the humanity in all of us and the power of music and culture to resolve our difference and conflicts”, say organisers.


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