The much-awaited season of university festivals has arrived after two years of absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Major Korean universities have been holding their most significant and exciting campus activities in May and mid-September. These activities were halted during the pandemic, but now that social distancing and wearing of masks outdoors have been lifted, the university festivals are back to be enjoyed by the public.
Here are three of the usual offerings Korean university festivals offer for the enjoyment of students and visitors.
1. K-Pop Concerts
Student councils usually compete to invite the most prominent names and most popular groups in K-Pop entertainment to please their university’s festival crowd. Concert lineups are usually unveiled a few days before the event, with some teasers to drum up anticipation. Some of these concerts are free, while some do require the purchase of tickets. Universities usually open a website for reservation of tickets sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
Yonsei University’s annual Akaraka festival was held on September 24. It was like a major K-pop festival, with some of the hottest acts performing, such as NewJeans, Ive, Le Sserafim, Zico, and Winner.
Hanyang University had aespa perform for them on May 26, their first college festival appearance, which also went viral on YouTube and social media.
2. Food Segment
The K-Pop segment is a relatively new addition to university festivals. Before these concerts, it was the food stalls that university festivals were most known for. Food and drink stalls were set up for the students and visitors to chill out on the campus.
At Dankook University, members of the student council, school clubs, and different departments set up their stalls and prepared popular street snacks such as tteokbokki (spicy rice cake), instant noodles, and side dishes. These food stalls were usually set up to raise funds for these organizations.
The food vendors sold soft drinks and fruit juice only since the sale of alcoholic beverages on campus by students was banned since 2018 due to concerns regarding underage drinkers and alcohol-related road mishaps.
But students found a way to still make liquor available by partnering with local liquor manufacturers and breweries, who then have separate booths where students can grab a drink.
3. Fun Activities
University festivals were a venue for student clubs to participate in singing and dance contests. Members of dance crews and rock bands performed before large crowds and contributed to the festive mood of the event.
Outdoor recreation stations with entertainment facilities were usually set up during these festivals. At the Seoul National University, a dart shooting gallery was quite popular among students, with stuffed dolls as prizes laid out on a picnic mat.
University festivals also have flea market booths where sellers offer handmade accessories and vintage clothes. These merchants join the flea market by partnering early with the university’s student council.