Destination: Boryeong Mud Festival (Daecheon)
UPDATE 4:30PM (Korea time) 14 July 2009 – Some more pictures of the Mud Festival from the AP – many of them showing quite a few Koreans in the mix. See? I’m not the only one saying it
It turns out the second time around, you know where things are. You can find the lockers more easily (behind the tent and chairs of the restaurant for foreigners, set up on the grass); you know where the bathrooms are (near the restauant for foreigners or on the other side of the beach near the information / souvenir tents), and of course you know where the mud is. Regardless of how often you’ve come, your sense of time tends to disappear as you throw yourself back in the mud wrestling put for the
second fifth time. Not keeping anything more than a plastic bag with money or a camera with you makes that rather difficult.
Enough of the editorial – time for the photos!
One of Boryeong’s mascots offering directions to a Korean. Note the photographer to your right – you’ll be seeing many of them throughout the pictures.
Starting off from Saturday morning, the crowd seems normal and clean enough.
Before long, the mud began to come out. The photo op’s here are wonderful, mainly because the number of people taking pictures seems almost as high as those people enjoying the mud.
Near the camping area and lockers is a great – and permanent – washing-up area.
I’ve never said this before – but cool trashcans.
I love the marbly texture / surface of the sand as the waves come in.
The row of orange umbrellas blocks most of the crowd, but they brighten up the overcast sky.
From the water, the crowd seems to dissipate a bit.
One of the first – and easiest – places to get muddy is the ‘self-massage zone’. Use a paintbrush or your hands to go from pasty white to somewhat gray.
Your usual ‘ring-the-bell’ type game – this time with mud and an bungee cord slowing them down.
Contrary to the media reports on the Mud Festival, there were at least as many Koreans getting muddy and drinking as there were foreigners.
The ‘professional’ photographer – an exhibit as interesting as most of the people getting muddy. Wearing hats, carrying a photo bag and a presumably-expensive DSLR camera, these people are usually adept at carrying their camera in preparation for the perfect moment.
Some art for public display – I didn’t see any purchasing information, but that doesn’t mean one couldn’t buy them all the same.
A game of limbo on the main stage – kids and adults alike.
A contest to put the key in the hole. It’s made complicated by the mud and slipperiness. This particular team didn’t quite make it…
A look at the crowd in the afternoon – a mixture of muddy people and clean people.
A chance for the kids to race and get muddy.
The Mud Prison – a place where clean people get muddy and where the muddy get muddier.
The mud wrestling pit – perhaps the best chance to pull down other wrestlers from the muddy surface onto the plastic bouncy area.
Possibly the only way to get muddier than wrestling – literally dunking yourself in an entire pot of mud.
Mud wrestling – albeit uninterrupted by unexpected jolts from the crowd.
They might be cute, but they were also pretty good wrestlers too!
Being in the muddy water made for some splashes – a wonderful sight.
A few Koreans wrapped some inner tubes around one of their friends, then watched as she bounced around…. Definitely fun to watch – and proof that foreigners aren’t the only one acting silly at the Boryeong Mud Festival.
The ‘professional’ photographers are always circling, but that doesn’t matter to most. Some even pose for them, even though there’s little chance of seeing themselves in print / online.
Some of the performers that never got to perform – even though the crowd stuck around, the concert of drums and Korean stringed instrument never started because of the rain.
Funny – the mascot didn’t look like he had drank a lot…
A carnival nearby the beach – far enough from the touristy set, but close enough to walk to.
The fireworks to cap off the night – some far more wonderful than others. The black shapes are umbrellas, and the rain was pouring. I was surprised the crowd stuck around for as long as they did.
As a whole, the Boryeong Mud Festival is a wonderful opportunity to get dirty, muddy, and yes a bit drunk. Although the Korean media isn’t keen to report it, there are as many Koreans present as there were foreigners, so they like to get dirty and intoxicated too. Getting to know the other foreigners there was lots of fun – as well as the few Koreans that spoke enough English. The mud festival runs through next Sunday (July 19th), so there’s plenty of time to get in on the action.
Directions: From Express Bus Terminal, take a bus to Daecheon station; from Seoul Station, take a train for Daecheon. Once in Daecheon, take a local bus or taxi to Boryeong beach – just follow the crowd.