Monday 6 August 2012

Jisan Valley Rock Festival

So I've already expressed my opinions about the music at Jisan, but our weekend trip was incredibly epic for other reasons too. What follows shall hereby be known as 'The mishaps of Chelsea and Ruth'.

We bought our tickets fairly far in advance because it was cheaper, but it wasn't until much nearer the time that I found a website saying you have to buy an add-on ticket if you want to camp. As  the festival is far out of Seoul and we had no where else to stay we needed this. Having sorted that, and knowing that tents could be rented I thought we were all set. I'd check online about renting the tents and couldn't find any info so assumed you rent it at the festival. I also found another website where we could book our place on a shuttle bus bring us to and from the festival to Seoul Station. Yet one more thing to pay for.

On the Friday Chelsea and I met at Seoul station, and after a frantic search on my iphone I found some directions to the bus stop. We exchanged our bus confirmation for bus tickets and boarded. It was quite busy so we sat on the back seat together. Massive mistake! A journey that usually takes just under an hour took two because it's a festival and it was busy. We were sitting at the back next to the engine. The weather was hot. And I mean HOT HOT HOT! We were heading to a festival where we wouldn't be able to shower for 3 days and within the first 2 hours we were a sweaty minging mess.

They had cider on sale. AMAZING!
We got to the site eventually and picked up our tickets. For some reason in Korea nothing is ever as simple as 'pick up the tickets' and we had to exchange our email confirmation for two envelopes (one for festival ticket and another for camping pass.) Then we had to exchange the tickets for 3 wristbands (festival, camping and +19 proof). Just before picking up the wristbands, we went over to find out about the tents. This is when I started to worry, instead of saying 'tent rental' it said 'tent reservation'. Shaking away my worries I headed to one of the people manning the stall. "One tent please" I confidently say. The guy looks at me and says, "We have no tents left, I'm sorry." I look at him bewildered, "umm, what?" "There are no tents left I'm afraid,"

I'm stumped.

 What are we supposed to do? We've paid to go to the 3 day festival. We've paid for camping. We have no tent. I ask him what I can do, because we don't have a tent and we're now facing sleeping outside. "If you have a car you can go into the city and buy a tent," Again I look at him bewildered, "Does it look like I have a car?!"

I wander over to Chelsea who's just picked up her tickets. I obviously look defeated, and I think she thinks it's a joke. "I'm serious, they have no tents." W"hat are we going to do?" "Shit," (sorry mum). We go over again, hoping the staff can give us some, any kind of solution. The guy looks at us and again says "I'm sorry, no tents." Nothing more, no help at all. I clearly look like I'm about to start balling my eyes out. Mainly because I am about to ball my eyes out. What are we going to do?

and vodka jelly in syringes.
We wander away a short distance. What are we going to do?! WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?? "Bugger!" Another staff member comes over to us, a girl this time. She says softly, "one of the other girls said she lives nearby and you can stay at her house this weekend." I'm completely taken aback. "What? Seriously?"

Then a pretty, petite Korean girl comes over. "Yes you can stay at my house. Where are you from?" "England," "I would like to help you, you have a big problem and I want to help you, you are two girls, so it's ok" I can't take it anymore, her kindness is exceptional, I start balling my eyes out. This girl, who knows nothing about us (Besides our nationality now) has offered to let us stay with her for an entire weekend. She takes our numbers, tells us she'll pick us up after the concert and tells us to go inside and enjoy ourselves. I just can't believe it. Korea can be a hard place to live sometimes, it's confusing and frustrating, and my last 2 weeks at school were alienating and lonely. And then in one swift move a young girl wipes out all of the negativity I've experienced and I feel completely unable to express my gratitude.

Little baby Judy
We go off, sort out the wristbands, lockers and money cards for the weekend. And then, just like that, what could have be a complete and utter disaster turns around and we having the time of our lives at Jisan. Cider, popcorn, vodka shots, Owl City, Beady Eye, Stone Roses, freebies and a scorching sun, a fabulous weekend festival experience.

It doesn't stop there however. At 12am Eli (Pronounced Ellie) arrives to pick us up, her mum is driving the car. She lives with her parents, and they are also incredibly friendly, they are not in the least fazed or angry that their daughter has invited two complete strangers, foreigners no less, into their house. We have a shower and a bed for the night, and in the morning Eli's mum cooks us a fantastic breakfast. It turns out they live on a farm and her parents produce vegetables for Elementary Schools in Seoul, and in an even weirder twist, they supply to Chelsea's school.

Saturday morning, we are given a guided tour of the farm and then Eli drops us off at the festival. She comes back that night to pick us up and we are again lucky enough to have showers and sleep in a bed! The following day her mum goes to Church, so Eli, her older brother and sister-in-law, their 8 month old baby and a family friend take us out to eat breakfast. It's the biggest spread of food I've seen and we are totally spoilt.

Such a kind family! <3 td="td">
That evening Eli comes to the festival, unfortunately we couldn't find each other in the crowd to watch the Stone Roses together, but after the show we see each other again. We try (and fail) to express our gratitude to her and we say our goodbyes.

I'm very happy that this weekend Eli will be in Seoul and able to come to my leaving meal. Because of her generosity and kindness Chelsea and I had an absolutely fantastic weekend. We got to see a part of Korea we never would have otherwise and we were reminded of what a great place this country is. I really hope Eli visits England this November as she hopes to because I want to return the favour and show her my country. Without her we'd have been sleeping on foam mats out in the open, Chelsea would have probably had a nervous breakdown and I doubt we would have made it through the whole weekend.

Thank you SungHwa (Eli's Korean name). I don't know if I can ever reply your kindness but please know how grateful I am to you!
Our saviour
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  1. How wonderful ... the good guys do outnumber the bad guys. She must stay with us when she visits England, so we can repay just a little of her kindness. x

  2. Actually balling my eyes out! (But then burst out laughing at the 'Chelsea would have probably had a nervous breakdown' part! Ahahaha! What a lovely post! This really sums up what an incredible weekend it was! Can't wait for her to come to England so we can try to return the favour! :) xxx