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Title 5·4 club & Korea CQ - Epilogue of 'Making Life a Festival, Jarasum Jazz Festival' by Jae Jin In, Founder & Artistic Director of Jarasum Jazz Festival
Posted by webmaster Hit 818 Date 2019.10.28

Dear 5·4 Club & Korea CQ members,

On October 24, the 5·4 Club & Korea CQ forum was held at the Novotel Ambassador Seoul Gangnam. 

Jae Jin In, Donghoon Park, Stephane Lo, Joohyun Ha, James Park, Jai Wook Lee, Francis Choi, Pilung Han, Kwiyeon Kim, Ian Jeong, Sumi Jan, Jean-Romain Micol, Young hak Moon, Choi Jungwha, Didier Beltoise, and Crystal Park attended. 

The evening started with the welcoming remarks by Choi Jungwha, President of CICI & Co-president of 5·4 Club, and Didier Beltoise, President of Cs & Co-president of 5·4 Club.

After sharing good news of our members, dinner commenced with a toast by Stephane Lo, Executive Managing Director of KL Limited. Members enjoyed a delicious contemporary Korean dinner specially prepared by Novotel Ambassador Gangnam: young –deok crab meat with pancake roll, persimmon sauce, grilled river eel with deo-deok and plum sauce, steamed crab meat with garinsh, traditional beef spare ribs stew, steamed rice with cabbage bean paste soup, and fresh fruit

After dinner, president Choi Jungwha shared news of recent trends in the tourism industry.

The talk ‘Making Life a Festival, Jarasum Jazz Festival’ by Jae Jin (JJ) In, founder and artistic director of the Jarasum Jazz Festival, started. It was an interesting and informative talk where members could hear about the history of the Jarasum Jazz Festival, which grew to become the biggest jazz festival in Asia in a country where jazz was not well known, as well as the life story of director In.

The talk was followed by an enthusiastic Q&A session with our members.

Before closing the event, we had time for the lucky draw. Congratulations to everyone who won!

We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to director Jae Jin In for his interesting talk, and Jung Ho Suh, chairman of Ambassador Hotel Group for allowing us to have a wonderful night at the Novotel Ambassador Gangnam. 
Last but not least, we would like to thank all members who attended the forum, and Crystal Park for her interpretation help.
Thank you. 

5·4 club & Korea CQ Heejae SHIN


Please click on the link below to see more photos:

‘Making Life a Festival, Jarasum Jazz Festival’ by Jae Jin In
Jarasum was an island that was not well known. It is located near Nami-island, and it disappears under the water during the summer monsoon season. It was literally an abandoned and neglected wasteland. This was where I started a music festival on Jazz, a genre that was not well known, in 2004, and the festival has grown in a very short period of time. 
After the Jarasum Jazz Festival, outdoor music festivals started to spring up everywhere in Korea. Since then, outdoor festivals has become a strong cultural trend in Korea, and I believe the Jarasum Jazz Festival played an integral role in this trend. To expand further, the Festival has grown to become the largest jazz festival in Asia, and one can say that since the creation of the festival, jazz is in Korea. Personally, this brought me the biggest change

I used to be a performance organizer before, usually handling genres such as jazz, world-music, and gukak (Korean traditional music). My nickname at the time was ‘minus-hands of the entertainment industry.’ Only around 10 performances out of a thousand would make any profit. I also made around 20 albums, and my nickname then was ‘the producer of rare records.’ But I always looked at it in a positive light – I believed this meant I had my own unique contents. As a producer and organizer, I always believed that the most important thing is the quality of the contents. 
The biggest change in my life since the festival was that I got married thanks to it. I got married at 46, and people often say that my life can be divided in two: ‘before Jarasum’ and ‘after Jarsum.’ The Jarasum Jazz Festival greatly changed my life for the better, and I am 100% satisfied with my life now. 
The Jarasum Jazz Festival has 15 big and small stages, and around 20,000 people gather in front of the stages. On Saturday, I go up on stage to say hello to the 20,000 audience. It is difficult to describe that feeling to people who have not experienced it. Although it takes a lot of effort to hold the festival, with its ups and downs, the moment I go on stage on the Saturday of the festival makes it all worth it. Jarasum is now a festival island where festivals are held all year round.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has a 5-class grading system for festivals. The Jarasum Jazz Festival is the only festival that has grown from ‘promising’ to ‘representative’ festival in a short time.
One of the most frequently asked questions I get is, how did I start the festival on an unknown island? In 2003, I was asked to give a lecture, and I talked a lot about jazz festivals there. My two dreams at that time were to create a very large international festival and to support world-class artists.
This was when my relationship with Jarasum started. I received a call from a person who had come to my lecture, who asked me if such a festival could be done in Gapyeong. I answered, ‘why not?’, and he asked to meet with me. It turned out that he was a low-ranking official at the Gapyeong County Office’s culture and tourism section. He showed me a number of places, but they were all places like the backyard of an office, or the front yard of the fire station. I was disappointed and was about to leave, when he said there is one more place. That place was Jarasum. And the first thing he said to me once we got there was ‘but this place sinks when it rains.’ The first thing I said when I saw it was ‘This place is great. I think it can be done here.’ 
Then I went home and worried about it. A lot. But strangely enough, as time passed, I began to think it may work. After two months, I was convinced that I could do it. Of course, whenever I said this to my acquaintances, they all told me I was crazy.
I did have some basis for my belief though. Finland holds and annual jazz festival called the ‘Pori Jazz.’ Although the country only has a population of about 5.5 million, around 150,000 ~ 200,000 people come to the Pori Jazz festival every year. The festival has been going on for 54 years now, so you could say that most of the population has been to the festival at least once in their lives. I went to see this festival in the early 2000s, and it looked quite similar to the early days of the Jarasum Jazz Festival. 
I was able to go see the Pori Jazz festival thanks to a special connection. Around 2001, I was invited as a panelist of the International Jazz Industry Forum in Australia. At the forum, I met follow panelist Jyrki Kangas, who is a legendary director in the Jazz-world. When I first met him, he did not say much, and it was difficult to get close to him, so I gave up. Then, one evening at dinner, I sat across from him. As I kept turning my head to the side to drink my beer, Kangas asked me why I kept turning my head. I told him that in Korea, people turn their heads away when drinking beer to show respect to the other person. As soon as he heard that, he suddenly became very friendly – I think he thought that this young man who came from Asia respected him. After telling me many stories during the rest of our stay, he invited me to the following year’s Pori Jazz festival, saying he will send an invitation. And he really invited me and I went. I was very surprised and had a shock seeing the festival, seeing a whole new world there. 
During the festival, Kangas invited me to dinner at his house. When got to his house, I had dinner with not only him but also Stevie Wonder, Sting, and more famous musicians, and I thought that I wanted to live like Kangas.
Since then, I always thought I would do a jazz festival in Korea. I thought then, that perhaps I was born to make a jazz festival. It was constantly on my mind, and in a few years, I became the general director of the Jarasum Jazz Festival. 
If you think about it, if I hadn’t done that lecture, if that official didn’t come to listen to my lecture, or if I hadn’t turned my head away when drinking beer in front of Jyrki Kangas, then I think I would not be the director of the Jarasum Jazz Festival today. All these small meetings and coincidences came together and changed my life, which changed a big trend in Korea’s culture, and since then, my life has become a festival every day.

Q. Didier Beltoise, President of Cs:
Apart from your passion and commitment, what do you think was the key to the success of the Jarasum Jazz Festival? 
What were the greatest difficulties you faced organizing the festival? 
A. Jae Jin In, Artistic Director of the Jarasum Jazz Festival: 
The Jarasum Jazz Festival has 4 main themes: Nature, Family, Rest, and Music. 
Nature, family, and rest brings picnics to mind, and to overcome the low popularity of jazz, we promote it as ‘Music.’ Therefore we promote the festival focusing on a picnic-like theme so that people can come looking forward to a good relaxing time. Some of the audience then come to love the music as well. 
Most people want this kind of enjoyable experience. And I believe that the Jarasum Jazz Festival is the first place in Korea to bring these dream to reality for people. 
To be honest, it was very difficult to hold the event up until the 3rd to 4th festivals. Realistically, the conditions and financial aspects were difficult – I even had to sell my house after the 3rd festival. 
Also, since the festival is outdoors, rain is always an issue. It rained every time from the 1st to 4th festivals. Since rain is not something I can change, I changed my way of thinking. How can I use the rain to make the best of this? When people see and experience a great performance in the rain, the memory lasts forever. Even until this day, I sometimes hear from people how they had a blast at the 1st festival, jumping up and down in the rain to the music. 
Q. Jai Wook Lee, Attorney at Yulchon: 
You said you were able to marry thanks to the festival. Could you tell us a bit more? 
A. Jae Jin In, Artistic Director of the Jarasum Jazz Festival: 
I met my wife, 나윤선, through work. We knew each other’s names, but did not know each other personally at first. At the time, she was looking for a person who could help her and manage her works both in Korea and abroad, so our mutual acquaintance introduced us to each other. I was the only person in Korea who could help her really. After meeting and talking with her for just an hour, I knew I wanted to marry her. 
Q. Choi Jungwha, President of CICI:
How did you come to live in Gapyeong? 
A. Jae Jin In, Artistic Director of the Jarasum Jazz Festival: 
I told you sold my house after the 3rd festival. So I had to look for a new place to live, and Gapyeong has cheaper housing. It all worked out in the end. 
Q. James Park, Director of BIO Plastic Surgery:
What happened to the Gapyong County Office official?
A. Jae Jin In, Artistic Director of the Jarasum Jazz Festival: 
He is happily living in Malaysia now. 
Q. Kwiyeon Kim, President of CITIAP: 
Is Jarasum not owned by anyone in particular? Did it always have the name ‘Jarasum’?
A. Jae Jin In, Artistic Director of the Jarasum Jazz Festival: 
Jarasum is managed by the Gapyeong County. Jarasum is an artificial island that was made from the Cheongpyeong Dam construction. It was originally called something else, but the people around the town eventually gave it the name ‘Jarasum’.
The Gapyeong County originally wanted to call the festival ‘Gapyeong Jazz Festival’ since it is held in Gapyeong, but I insisted on calling it ‘Jarasum Jazz Festival’. 
Q. Didier Beltoise, President of Cs: 
Do you think jazz in Korea will grow from here? 
A. Jae Jin In, Artistic Director of the Jarasum Jazz Festival: 
I don’t think that the jazz-market will dramatically broaden in Korea. Due to the genre’s qualities, it has not happened anywhere in the world. 
Jazz is most respected in France. France most strongly treats jazz as a form of art, and from what I know, it was the first country to bring jazz musicians to perform on stage at a theater. However, even there it never became a major genre. Still, there are more and more great jazz musicians coming to light in Korea, and I believe it is expanding bit by bit. 

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