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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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Joss Stone performs in North Korea on world tour

British singer Joss Stone has performed at a bar in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, as part of her effort to play in every country in the world.

Stone announced the visit as part of her Total world tour, which began in 2014 and is due to end later this year. The tour has already taken Stone to over 175 countries, including Venezuela, Syria, Iraq and the Palestinian territories.

The singer says Simon Cockerell, general manager of North Korean tour operator Koryo Tours, helped her get into the isolated country.

Stone performed to an audience of tourists and tour guides, and later met the British ambassador to North Korea, Colin Crooks.

Stone describes the Total tour as a “musical and social project that aims to bring people together and create joy through music.”

The singer is aiming to balance the carbon emissions associated with travel for her tour,  investing in renewable energy and reforestation in India with the support of Energy Revolution, a festival industry collaboration tackling climate change.

 


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