INTRODUCTION

As we exited the subway station, strolling past the kimbap stands and glowstick vendors, the weather was perfect.  It wasn’t too hot and it wasn’t too cold.  While there were clouds, they weren’t rain clouds, which can ruin even the best of events.  It was a little past 5 PM, so as we approached the stadium, we could already here the bass booming from the first stage.  After checking in with the press tent and grabbing our badges, we made our way into the stadium.  Wristbands shown, bags inspected, and cameras prepped, we were ready for the experience. Dutch premium beer company Heineken and Korean event agency VU Entertainment provided an innovative EDM experience along with international artists on the five different stage at Jamsil Olympic Stadium.  Keep reading to discover what the event was like!

THE LAYOUT

Upon entering the actual stadium, there was an open area with sponsor displays, photo opportunities, booths, and food/drink vendors.  This was nice because it gave visitors a place to get away from the stages and relax if they needed to.  

The stages themselves were accessed through a single entrance.  The five stages sat in a ring.  Each was identical and came complete with speakers, LED displays, pyrotechnics, special effects, and of course, a DJ booth.  In between the stages, there were bars on the ground level and VIP sections above those. 

Throughout the event, we noticed that the stages were all synced.  While one stage featured the DJ playing, the other stages’ screens, speakers, pyrotechnics, etc. were still active.  This was neat because you could be on the other side of the stadium while the DJ was playing and still feel the energy and experience.

THE DJS

Starting things off on the first stage was Mark Knight.  With over a decade of experience DJing and producing, it was amazing to watch the legend perform once again in South Korea.  Last year, ElectRow watched Mark Knight play at Sensation at KINTEX in Ilsan (see ElectRow Magazine Vol. 2 for the Sensation Coverage), and he did an amazing job delivering quality sets for both events.  Even though he was first, and not everyone had quite made it to the stadium, those in attendance for his set were attentive and involved.  At first, we were a bit surprised that he was opening the event, but compared to the rest of the acts during 5tardium, we think his style fit perfectly with the setting sun. 

As the sky darkened, the stadium began to fill.  Even before Mark Knight finished his set, people were lining up in front of the second stage, anxiously awaiting the next artist.  As the music faded from the first stage, you could feel the anticipation in the air.  Eyes were glued to the screens as the intro video for the second stage played simultaneously across the five stages.  Suddenly, the words “Danny Byrd” appeared and a burst of fireworks shot high into the air as he dropped his first song.

Bass music is not on the forefront of the music scene is South Korea, but you wouldn’t have known that from the crowd’s reactions and response.  Fans roared as drum n’ bass tunes erupted from the speakers.  The difference between Mark Knight’s style and that of Danny Byrd is huge, but we think that is what made 5tardium so special.  They definitely had the right idea advertising the event as 5 different stages with 5 different experiences.

The third stage featured Seven Lions.  By the time he was on, the stadium was nearly full and from the back of the crowd, the view was breathtaking.  However, we didn’t stay in the back long, because we wanted to get all the way to the front to witness this set.  Seven Lions’ music is the perfect blend of beauty and raw power.  His performance exceeded expectations, and it definitely seemed like he made a lot of new fans in the crowd.  We were impressed by his stage presence and the musical flow of his set. 

Then came stage four.  Alvaro was probably the most recognizable DJ at 5tardium because of his big tracks such as the collaboration with Mercer, “Welcome to the Jungle”.  Along with MC KC Jones, Alvaro delivered a set full of energy and excitement.  At one point during the set, they had the entire crowd get down and jump up on the drop.  From our vantage point, it was incredible to see thousands of people jump up and throw their hands in the air.

Finally, Super8 & Tab took the fifth stage to finish out the incredible evening.  By this point, everyone was in good spirits and still had tons of energy to burn!  The last stage was the furthest point from the entrance, which was a smart move by the organizers.  Their set was similar to that of Alvaro, but featured just a little bit more progressive house to keep spirits lifted and end the night on a positive note. 

Overall, all five acts delivered solid sets.  There weren’t any apparent mess-ups or glitches and execution was clean.  I guess that’s what you should expect from DJs of their caliber though! 

PERFORMANCES & ATMOSPHERE

While music is important at a festival, the atmosphere and feeling you get from the event is also crucial.  Like most big events, they did have the occasional pyrotechnics, confetti, and streamers. However, 5tardium also included various performances and extras that added to the experience for each of the individual stages.  From dancers to giant puppets to LED bracelets, the event was something to be seen, just as much as it was to be heard. 

Lucent Dossier and RJ Dancers came on stage during the DJ sets to dance and keep the crowd interest at an all-time high.  As soon as they walked out, cell phones went up and pictures were snapped.  Each stage had a different experience, even down to these performers.

Dundu provided giant puppets that made their way around the crowd during the stage performances.  These giant white figures were lit up and visible from everywhere inside the stadium.  Although there were people controlling them on the ground, from afar, they looked simply magical. 

Pixmob provided LED lighting in the form of bracelets and balls.  The bracelets are controlled remotely, so that they would light up altogether and change colors.  Once lit, you could see a sea of light as the crowd members held their hands high.  The balls were thrown out during the end of the last set and could be seen bouncing on top of the crowd.  They were also programmed to change colors once hit, so they would flash between white and green. 

Heliosphere was another one of the incredible performance extras at 5tardium.   A giant, lit-up sphere  floated high above the crowd as a gymnast dangled below.  The beauty of the gymnast’s performance attracted a lot of attention and everyone’s eyes were to the skies.

Before the final stage began, there was a fireworks display over the stadium.  The organizers pulled out all the stops on 5tardium.  Just when you thought you had seen everything there was to see, they would surprise you with another spectacular surprise. 

WHAT WE LIKED & CONCLUSION

We got to 5tardium early enough to catch all five acts, so we were able to witness the progression of the event from the first stage all the way to the last.  Even early on in the evening, we saw plenty of people embracing unique accessories and colorful fashion.  Having attended many festivals over the years, we have noticed each year that more and more festival-goers in Korea dress up and get into the festival ‘spirit’. 

Throughout the night, we found the fans to be very positive and quite loving.  While many people go to events just to tell their friends they went, it seemed like the 5tardium fans were there for the music and to enjoy themselves. 

We were also extremely impressed with how smooth the event ran.  From start to finish, everything seemed to be organized and the timing was perfect.  There were no breaks, pauses, or mishaps, which can easily occur with such a big production.  We didn’t notice a single mistake throughout the event. 

We also want to comment on the wonderful VIP amenities.  If this event returns next year, we will definitely highly recommend everyone to take advantage of the VIP lounges.  You might have to pay a little extra, but they seemed well worth it.  With four different lounges, there was plenty of choices.  Some featured table settings with bottle service, while others offered food and Heineken beer all night long.  They also had access to their own sets of bathrooms, so you didn’t have to wait in line with the rest of general admission ticket holders.  The VIP lounges were raised above the rest of the audience, so you had a clear view of the stages and could see over the entire audience.

Overall, we were very happy with 5tardium and impressed that it was such a huge success for being a brand new event created from scratch.  We definitely hope it returns year after year and gets bigger and better.  This was actually one of our staff members’ first festival, and she had a great time discovering what the culture is all about.  We also heard from one of the festival attendees, Edward S., who had a lot of great things to say about this event.  He had attended Sensation as well, but was impressed by 5tardium even more.  “It was so far my best party[,] performance-wise. The 5tardium one was amazing in different ways.  It had new taste that party crews were looking for. Its concept of having 5 stages was different from other plain party. Definitely something that people would remember for.”  We totally agree and appreciate Edward for taking the time in sharing his thoughts about the event.  If you want to share your thoughts or feelings about 5tardium or any other events that we cover at ElectRow, then drop us a line at submissions@electrow.com!

 Thank you to all the performers, organizers, and staff!

 


Translation support from: Hyunah Kim