Mongooz and the Magnet, a band from Pécs, Hungary, performed at a festival in the demilitarised zone in Korea. The band recounted their experience at the festival on nobody’s land between the two Koreas, as well as the locals’ reaction to a Hungarian band performing not long after the boat accident in Budapest.
The DMZ Peace Train Festival was first organised last year in the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea. The festival’s motto is “Dancing for a Borderless World,” their goal is to achieve peace, and they believe it is important to raise awareness to how the majority of Korean citizens still live in an oppressing regime in 2019. Their other goal is to pass on the ideal of peace through music, as well as bringing the two countries together, reports Index.
The festival took place in Cheorwon, Kangwon, between June 7-9, and over the three days, they had almost 20,000 visitors. While last year, mostly Korean bands performed, and the special guest was the founder of Sex Pistols, Glen Matlock – who, by the way, only asked for a plane ticket as payment, – this year, they invited musicians from several countries, such as John Cale (Velvet Underground) from Wales, Little Big Bee from Japan, and Mongooz and The Magnet from Hungary.
The Hungarian band had already performed in Korea last year, at the showcase festival called Zandari Festa in Seoul, and they were invited to Peace Train after having been seen at the showcase festival, where they had performed in front of nearly 4,000 people. This, however, was not their only performance in Korea this year. Before the festival, they gave a club concert on June 7 in Seoul, then at the festival, and lastly, they returned to Seoul on June 10 for DMZ’s afterparty.
Ian O’Sullivan, the bassist of the band (who moved to Pécs years ago for his studies, just like the Norwegian singer), talked about DMZ Train with the band’s manager, Dénes Pécsi-Szabó. Even though the zone was surrounded by soldiers, according to O’Sullivan, there was nothing to be feared. Both the locals and the mood were characterised by peace and happiness. The cultural differences could be sensed at times, but locals were happy for everyone, took photos with the performers, and were very polite. The band’s travels were recorded with three iPhones (one used to take pictures, the other two to record sound).
The band also said that as it is the 30th anniversary of the diplomatic relationship of Hungary and South Korea, there were going to be more Hungarian programs in Korea this year.
However, after the tragic Hableány accident on May 29 – in which 26 South Korean tourists, as well as the Hungarian sailor and captain, lost their lives – the Korean legation cancelled many of the programs in consideration of the mourning period.
Mongooz and the Magnet have already started establishing themselves on the Korean market. With the help of a local publisher, their music is available on a popular streaming site in the region. Curiously, Spotify or YouTube are not very wide-spread in South Korea. The band is planning to return to the country on tour, and they are releasing an EP soon.