As I have received a lot of questions lately on how to search for a show in Seoul, how to buy a ticket and so on, I decided to write a simple article based on my own experience, including some barriers I faced during my four visits to Seoul.
1. Where to search for shows
It is easy for you if you are fan only of one particular band and follow their each and every SNS. Bands usually post their schedule on their own or their label’s page.
But what to do if you like a lot of bands or just want to enjoy a good evening with good music? Then you should visit one of these sources:
Koreagigguide.com. My appreciation goes out to the guys who’ve been running this site for years. Very simple and convenient list of shows with venue addresses. Sadly not each and every show is listed there.
Doindie.co.kr. The new trustworthy source for everything indie in Korea started last year by my friends. Should say that in December/January it was almost the only place for me to find a show I wanted to visit. Also they have very easy explanations on how to find venues.
Korean Punk&Hardcore Facebook page. For those who search only for this kind of music.
2. How to buy a ticket
So far the most difficult question for a foreigner. But an easy one if you have an alien registration card in Korea.
There are several clubs that are quite easy get into even if you haven’t booked a ticket. For example, at Club FF, Club TA, Freebird, Gogos2 and many other smaller venues you can just buy a ticket at the door.
But when it comes to venues with ‘hall’ in their name, like Rolling Hall, V-hall, Prism Hall, Yes 24 MUV Hall and others – it is usually better to buy your ticket ahead of time via the Interpark site (Global vers, Korean vers. Otherwise you can easily be in the situation in which the concert is sold out.
The entrance fee may be anything from 10 000 won up to 50 000 won or more. The last is for the ‘quite famous’ line-up of bands. The price can go higher if you want to see some legends of rock (like YB or Kim Kyung Ho, whose upcoming concert with good seats can cost you 99 000 won).
3. ‘Watch out’! Or some rules of etiquette
If you come to a venue and see a long line of people waiting outside, check if people have tickets. If they do and you don’t (or if you have booked online but don’t have your physical ticket yet), then walk past the line to the table in front of the entrance (usually closed doors) and buy a ticket. After that, you need to return to the end of the queue if you don’t want to appear rude. If you booked the tickets on Interpark, take a look at the number of the ticket– that figure often determines your place in the line.
Save some 500 won coins, because you’ll need them if you want to use a locker. Usually it costs 1000 – 2000 won which you don’t get back (you can only use the locker once). But it is ok if you don’t have coins; everywhere you can find a change machine which accepts bank notes up to 10 000 won. An exception is SangSangMadang, where the lockers require only 100 won.
Never! Never stand in the front row when you go to concerts of Gogostar, Eastern Sidekick, WhoWho, Yellow Monsters, Galaxy Express and others if you don’t want to be smashed, pushed and shoved to the center of a mosh pit. Many Korean fan girls are… how can I put it… crazy, and they don’t care about foreign guests! 😉 When I tried to take some pictures for the website I experienced a lot of this! Was almost killed and received unforgettable hateful stares from the girls.
Ah… One thing to mention… Around midnight the most popular rock clubs like FF and Gogos2 transform into dance clubs where foreigners and Koreans alike can enjoy dancing to good music, along with cheap drinks. But ladies, be careful with the Korean men there. There’s a rumor among Korean men in Hongdae: if you want to get a white girl easily you can find one at FF. So… just be careful.
P.S. Everything is my own experience. If you have anything to add – please feel free.