Back in 2019, Korean punk label World Domination, Inc. celebrated their 10-year anniversary by holding the first IT’S A FEST! at Hanagae Beach on Muui Island. IAF! was a free two-day festival that included some of the best punk and ska bands from around Korea along with a few bands from Singapore, China, and Malaysia. The first year was a huge success, but the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented WDI from holding another IAF! every year since then.
Original promo vid for the inaugural edition
That all changes this year. Two weeks ago, WDI officially announced that IAF! would be returning this summer, and they’ve finally released the full lineup. Once again, this year’s lineup features some of Korea’s mainstay punk and ska bands playing alongside some of the scene’s most exciting newcomers. Established bands like Burning Hepburn, …Whatever That Means, and Smoking Goose will be playing with the newly formed ska-punk supergroups Monkey Gang War and Dolphin Pants Brothers. WinningShot, who were a very new band when they played IAF! in 2019, will be returning as scene veterans and fresh off their first Japan tour. Even Crying Nut, one of Korea’s first-generation punk bands, will be part of the festival this year. Along with a huge lineup of Korean bands Social Circuit (Malaysia), Green Eyed Monster (Japan), and Octopoulpe (France) will also be traveling to Korea for the festival.
Probably the most exciting part of this year’s IAF! is the expansion into other genres. Bands like End These Days (metalcore), Polluter (hardcore punk), Beacon (garage punk), and Chain Reaction (post-hardcore) are great additions to the IAF! lineup. According to WDI, “We never intended for IT’S A FEST! to only be a pop punk festival, but we had to play things a little safe the first year. We had to make sure the locals on the island could deal with the insane volume of the festival first, so we kept all the music really melodic and easily accessible in 2019. Now that we know volume isn’t a problem, we’re able to expand things to include more of the underground music we love, which includes bands with more aggressive, screamy vocals.”
IT’S A FEST! will be back on Muui Island in June. The festival opens Friday, June 16th with an acoustic night, and the main festival will run on Saturday, June 17th, and Sunday, June 18th. Entry to IAF! is still free, but WDI is currently fundraising for the festival by selling weekend beach bungalow reservations and festival merch packages on their website: www.wdikorea.com/festival