Live Report: DMZ Peace Train Festival 2024

The Korean festival brought together international artists and local musicians in a "best of both worlds" weekender...

This past weekend in Korea, indie music lovers flocked to an unlikely meeting place to hear music from around the world. DMZ Peace Train Festival, in its fifth iteration, is a music festival held in the demilitarized zone that serves as a buffer between North and South Korea.

With the intention of showcasing “how music helps us overcome differences… to collectively reach an ultimate state of free and peace,” the festival forgoes headliners, expensive F&B (instead mainly partnering with existing local food stands), and declares itself non-commercial. This year’s lineup was a truly global affair, featuring bands from the UK, France, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea, including overseas acts like post-punk Porridge Radio and modular-synth-centric psychedelic rockers Meule, in addition to local rockstars Silica Gel and Korean 80’s rock legend Kim Soo-chul.

Seoul-based photographer Abi Raymaker documented the weekend in photos.

The crowd dancing during Omar and the Eastern Power’s set.

The crowd dancing during Omar and the Eastern Power’s set.

Overlooking the DMZ from the festival grounds.

Overlooking the DMZ from the festival grounds.

The crowd during alternative K-Pop crew Balming Tiger’s electrifying performance.

The crowd during alternative K-Pop crew Balming Tiger’s electrifying performance.

Festival flags are popular at summer festivals in Korea, such as this one that says “퇴사” or “quit your job”.

Down a set of stairs from the festival, attendees swam in a creek in between sets.

Seoul Community Radio, a local hub for independent and underground radio, ran a DJ setup in front of fountains all weekend long and late into the night. Festival goers danced with local residents and hikers passing through.

Porridge Radio live at DMZ Peace Train, their first show in Korea.

The legendary guitarist and singer Kim Soo-chul closed out the festival on Sunday night.

Words and Photography: Abi Raymaker

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