Oct 2nd, 2017, 04:30 PM

K-Pop is Popping in the 15th

By Lily Radziemski
(Image Credit: Facebook/ Festival Coréen 2017)
Paris Hosts the Second Annual Korean Festival

This weekend, Paris's Marie du 15e hosted the second annual Festival Coréen as a celebration of Korean culture and an opportunity for Parisians to get a taste of it. K-pop dancers, visual art performances, and countless tents of boiling bulgogi surrounded the Mairie all day, drawing in an international melting pot of crowds. As the world's spotlight is constantly shining on a division in the Korean peninsula, this festival served as a reminder of culture as a uniting force.

Throughout the past two decades, Korean pop-culture (K-pop) has been taking the world by storm. After attracting an international audience through their film industry—particularly with the international television hit Winter Sonata in 2002—K-pop music has been garnering an international fan base that continues to fuel its success. According to Youna Kim's The Korean Wave: Korean Media Go Global, "in the 1990s, the rise of Korean popular culture was facilitated by the opening of the Korean market to global cultural forces," which initially introduced K-pop into the international scene. Additionally, this curiosity with K-pop has drawn attention to other aspects of Korean culture as a result.

(Image Credit: Lily Radziemski)

After a brief welcome ceremony, the center stage erupted in talent shows, K-pop performances, and prize ceremonies spanning throughout the entire day. Surrounding the stage, hundreds of festival-goers danced and cheered for the K-pop performances, mouthing the words to every song. 

Leily Radseresht, a 21-year-old Irish/Iranian student, said "I've never really listened to K-pop before, but the energy and enthusiasm were amazing —I stopped thinking about all of the bad things happening in the world. The day was filled with positivity."

Interestingly, the performers were not all Korean. Backstage, French groups of teenagers awaited their turns to perform, while they effortlessly danced the music-video routines to each K-pop song playing on stage. Although it was difficult to judge the performances from afar 'vertically challenged' height is not ideal when it comes to concerts— from backstage, the international performers looked in sync with the Korean nationals, demonstrating the craze of K-pop extending beyond Korean borders. 

Admittedly, the festival was a victim of its own success; the crowds made it difficult to maneuver, and the long-lines often overpowered the tempting smells of bulgogi drifting through the tents. However, this isn't the point. In addition to being a celebration of Korean culture, this festival really served as a symbol of the international affixation with K-pop and its global reach.