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DMZ Peace Train returns to Korean demilitarised zone

DMZ Peace Train Music Festival, the largest international music event held on the edge of the demilitarised zone (DMZ) that divides North and South Korea, has announced it will return for its second year.

The event takes its name from the DMZ Train, or Peace Train, a South Korean tourist train running from Seoul to stations close to the DMZ.

The festival’s stages are set within view of the DMZ, which serves as a buffer zone between the two countries and is one of the most heavily fortified borders in the world.

The inaugural DMZ Peace Train took place last year, attracting more than 10,000 local and international attendees to see performances by over 20 artists from North and South Korea, France, the UK, Japan, Taiwan and Palestine.

The second edition of the event will be held from 5 to 9 June, one month after the first anniversary of the April 27 inter-Korean summit, the first meeting in history between South Korean president Moon Jae-in and North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un.

The festival will kick off with a two-day international conference and showcase at Seoul multi-event space, Platform Changdong 61.

The festival’s stages are set within view of the DMZ, one of the most heavily fortified borders in the world

Over the course of the festival, performances will take place on the train tracks at Woljeong-ri Station, the northernmost train station on the southern boundary line and at the collapsed former Korea Workers’ Party headquarters. A theatre performance will take place on the Soi Mountain, a long-time strategic military point, recently opened to the public.

Performances will come from Velvet Underground founding member John Cale, “father of Chinese rock” Cui Jian, 1970s Korean folk duo Jung Tae-choon and Park Eun-ok and Seun Kuti, who leads Nigerian group Egypt 80, among others.

The festival is co-founded by the governor of Gangwon Province and Seoul city and organised by the production and promotion team behind South Korea’s premier indie music festival Zandari Festa. The festival’s international advisory board includes UK music executives Stephen Budd (Africa Express, ONEFest, NH7), Martin Elbourne (the Great Escape, Glastonbury) and Martin Goldschmidt (Cooking Vinyl).

Ticket reservations for international attendees are free, with a deposit of 10,000 won (US$9) for one-day pass or 20,000 won ($17) for a three-day pass exchanged at the entrance for a gift certificate supporting local Cheorwon businesses.


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Music Cities Convention completes speaker line-up

The Music Cities Convention has completed the speaker line-up for its third outing, with Katell Martin, responsible for the creative and cultural Industries for the city of Angers, France; Tatjana Kaube, creative director at the office of the Mayor of Berlin; James Drury, editor of Londonist; Olga Polishuk, executive director of the Strelka Institute in Moscow; and Sigurður Björn Blöndal, council leader of Reykjavik, among the new additions for the 18 May event.

The convention’s programme will consist of four panels and six presentations and will attract delegates from 60 cities, with other confirmed speakers including Mirik Milan, Amsterdam’s night mayor; Busk in London’s Dr Julia Jones; New York University’s Carlos Chirinos; Jocelyn Kane, executive director of the San Francisco Entertainment Commission; Sydney Fringe executive director Kerri Glassock; Sheffield Tramlines organiser Kate Hewitt; and South Australian government advisor Joe Hay.

The convention, which was initiated by Glastonbury booker and The Great Escape co-founder Martin Elbourne and music market development agency Sound Diplomacy, explores the relationship between city planning, strategy, development and policy and the music industry. It takes place in Brighton the day before The Great Escape, the showcase festival and music industry convention.