The Korea Herald


Pentaport Incheon opens big, rocks out in sweltering heat

By Choi Ji-won

Published : Aug. 4, 2023 - 23:01

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Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival 2023 takes place at the Moonlight Festival Park in Songdo-dong, Incheon, on Friday. (Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival) Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival 2023 takes place at the Moonlight Festival Park in Songdo-dong, Incheon, on Friday. (Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival)

"We performed right here in front of an empty field three years ago, and it's awesome to be back with a full crowd!" South Korea's long-loved rock band Galaxy Express shouted to a frenzied crowd Friday at the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival, which was held via livestream for two years due to the pandemic.

Even the sweat-dousing humid weather couldn't hold back the live music enthusiasts from sticking close to the main stage and jumping up and down to the band's psychedelic rock beats.

It was the first day of the annual rock music fest, and thousands of fans flooded into Moonlight Festival Park in Songdo-dong, Incheon.

Colorful tents spread over the grass field, which was divided into the KB Kookmincard Starship stage, Incheon Airport Stage and Musinsa Stage, with the main lineup leading the blowout at the KB Kookmincard Starship.

A total of 54 acts from here and overseas -- a rather small pool compared to the event's biggest heydays -- are set to perform over the three-day run of the annual summer blowout.

The first day celebrated an assorted diversity of music, from Galaxy Express' psychedelic and heavy metal to George's grooves and R&B and No Brain's down-to-earth punk rock. Famed soloists, including Kim Yoon-ah of Jaurim and Chang Kiha of Kiha & Faces, brought the fans closer.

Headlining Friday was Ellegarden, veteran Japanese punk rockers who recently returned to the music scene after 16 years. The band rounded out the night with the final performance on the main stage.

Joining Ellegarden as this year's headliners are legendary American rock band the Strokes on the second day and South Korea's reputed rocker Kim Chang-wan's Kim Chang-wan Band on the third day.

Pentaport, which has long provided a forum for rookie rockers and less famous artists to introduce themselves, again presented some unexpected pleasures to the audience, with rising acts the likes of the Poles, Dabda, Romantic Punch and My Aunt Mary taking the stage on the first day.

It was a smooth start for Pentaport this year, with no injuries or illnesses reported so far. Emergency cooling booths were installed around the venue, offering a momentary escape from the recent suffocating heat waves, while paramedical staff were not so difficult spot roaming around the park.

One glitch of the day might be the raised concerns over safety for the mass gathering, after a random stabbing rampage in the capital area on Thursday, evoking shock and fear in the country. While some left comments on the festival's official social media asking for stricter measures, no such incidents were yet recorded.

Over the next two days, a flourish of music is to be rolled out by some of the nation's biggest indie bands and rock vocalists, including Black Skirt, Silica Gel, Se So Neon, Cherry Filter, Kwon Jin-ah, Nerd Connection, Damons Year and Leenalchi.