Hae Bang Chon Festival returns for fall edition
Hae Bang Chon (HBC) Festival returns this Friday and Saturday, presenting 58 individual performances at nine venues throughout the neighborhood, known for its high foreign population.
One performer to look out for this year is Jonathan Hunt, an acoustic country/folk-rock performer from Canada. He will be playing at Linus BBQ at 5 p.m. on Saturday. Accompanying him on harp will be John Patrick Starling.
“I think I’ve played HBC fest ever since 2015,” he told The Korea Times. “Twice a year since then including every HBC South.”
HBC South is the festival’s spinoff event held outside the gate at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, where much of the U.S. military personnel who used to populate Itaewon area have been redeployed.
“I like playing the festival as it allows me to work on my live performance and get to see other musicians perform,” Hunt said. “Develop friendships as well.”
He is midway through a project to release a new single every couple months. His last was “Hotel Telephone Lines,” and the release of his next, titled “I Will Find You,” is imminent for later this month.
He says working on one song at a time allows him and his producer Brad Wheeler to focus all their attention on each song fully. It also allows for more collaboration with artists to design album covers.
“Because songs are digital now, people can make their own playlists resulting in a world driven by singles,” he said.
But he hasn’t totally outgrown the full album conceit, as he plans to gather up the songs for release on a more traditional album.
“I wanted to create an album at the end because I feel all these songs work well together and should be in an album,” he said. “I came from a world of albums.”
Hunt has already released two albums, both which have a more folk-rock sound than his latest single.
“Although I’m always learning the singing process, in the first two albums I was trying to find a unique way of singing that is comfortable to me — although not consciously doing so,” he said. “It seems that I have been moving in a direction of Americana. Things can change in the future but that’s where it is heading in this album.”
Although Hunt lives across the river in Jamsil area, he comes up to HBC regularly to meet his live music needs.
For many of the performers at HBC Festival, which include foreign residents and locals, HBC isn’t their home but where they go to be part of a music scene.
Held twice a year, HBC Festival marks its 14th year this year. The previous installment was in June.
Live bands are set to perform in well-insulated venues like Phillies Pub basement, Camarata Music, Pet Sounds and jazz venue Boogie Woogie, while acoustic shows are held at Hair of the Dog, Linus BBQ, Republic, Phillies Pub upstairs and Dead Poets.
The performances are countless, but some of the other acts worth checking out include the festival organizer’s act Lance Reegan-Diehl Band, roots musician Seth Mountain, Beatles tribute act the Beagles and Tim Gilmour, who returned to Korea from his Southeast Asia walkabout just for the festival. Also worth catching the rock band Magna Fall, which is having its final show before its frontman Kevin leaves the country.
Entry at all locations is free. Visit hbcfest.com for more information.
Lance Reegan-Diehl, center, organizer of HBC Fest, performs at the spring edition of the festival held in June.