Dongseongro Festival


This festival is a Big Deal in the Pagaard house, you guys.

Because a year and a half ago, it was at just such a festival that I felt feelings for The Boy. Watching him do an acoustic cover of Electric Feel on the stage by Debec Department Store. And totally freaking out and going straight home afterwards and scrubbing all my floors, Cinderella-style, in an attempt to calm my brain down about feeling things about a Boy.

And yes, I was an adult with two university degrees, why do you ask?

But this year, lo! hark! how different it all was. Which is a testimony to 1. the grace of God 2. the patience of Boy and 3. the virtue of floor-scrubbing as mental exorcism.

Thanks to Nate’s open-mic days his first few years in Korea, he’s pretty well-known to the guys responsible for organizing entertainment for big festivals like this one. Dongseongro is the name of Daegu’s big downtown center of the city, where all the big stores and shopping and flagrant consumerism flourish. We met because of our musician-y hobbies (someday I’ll post about our story, but for now, our wedding website will suffice) and Nate’s connections mean that when they need to fill space for live music, they call on us.

So we got to play two sets this weekend on two of the festival stages. One Saturday and one Sunday. We had two weeks of warning, so two weeks to prep a set list: we wanted to do songs that would be mostly recognizable, since we’d already be subjecting these poor Koreans to songs all in English.

If we wanted to sing in Korean, we’d probably go with this:

Just for the sake of mass appeal. Obvs.

Koreans have a totally understandable fascination with diva pop. I can’t tell you how many times a taxi driver has seen me get in, and immediately and proudly switched to his collection of Whitney, Mariah, and Celine. So we threw in two Whitneys and a Winehouse. And one of my favorite covers ever, The Civil Wars’ take on the Jackson 5’s ‘I Want You Back.’

Awesome camera work by our best buddy, So Young.

Um, can we please talk about The Boy in that color? Teal. Tan. Shades. hashtag dang.

We ended up with six songs, which balanced nicely, since the MC at Saturday’s show cut us off early, and Sunday’s MC asked us 2 minutes before the set to extend it by 10 minutes. No exaggeration. That’s two jittery people in a tent behind the stage having this conversation:

‘What other songs do we know?’


Bill Withers came through for us in a big way:

We had a great time. Everyone was in a good mood, and even when they had no idea what we were singing, people stayed to listen, which was 1. flattering 2. awkward 3. there as a pigeon who landed on the stage in front of us and strutted back and forth during one song who was probably the real star of the show.

Singing with The Boy is one of my All-time Favorite Things. Oprah style. We’re going to miss this when we move back, but that we get to do it at all is pretty great. (but watching these videos back reminds me I should never ever ever clap in public or wear any of what I was wearing or leave my house ever again.)

And this is what I married:

For which I say, Praise. the. Lord.

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