K-Music Festival 2023 Celebrates 10th Year Anniversary this Autumn


Squid Game Images © Netflix

This autumn sees the K-Music Festival celebrate its 10th Anniversary with a diverse and eclectic lineup of Korean artists, showcasing contemporary Korean music based on traditions. With seven live shows across London through October and November, this is a unique opportunity to hear some of the most exciting and dynamic Korean artists performing live. Tickets are on sale here

‘Hallyu! The Korean Wave has flourished across the world over the past decade and more – not only in K-Pop but also in film, video games, TV, fashion, and food. To align with the trend, the festival's lineup this year is filled with boundary-pushing shows, thrilling collaborations, and extraordinary performances that expand to cinematic music and alternative K-Pop. This includes the highly anticipated Opening Concert featuring film scores from Parasite and Squid Game at the Barbican Centre Hall on the 1st of October and the must-see double bill with JAMBINAI and LEENALCHI at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre on the 10th of November as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival 2023. 

Jambinai is set to perform on 10th November. Photo Courtesy of Dawpell Pr

The K-Music Festival opens with award-winning composer Jung Jaeil who is responsible for some of Korea's most popular film scores and has worked on titles such as Bong Joon Ho's Netflix Okja and Parasite, Netflix series Squid Game, and Hirokazu's Broker. Jung Jaeil will perform his renowned film scores with the London Symphony Orchestra. New collaborators for this year also include CelloGayageum and accomplished composer, improviser, and solo performer Dasom Baek. With mastery over the daegeum, a large bamboo flute, Dasom Baek will gracefully unify the rich musical traditions of both the East and West, enchanting audiences with new musical heights. 

Jung Jaeil is set to perform on Sun 1st October. Photo Courtesy of Dawpell Pr

All-female groups Groove & and DUO BUD join forces to deliver a captivating performance that explores the enchanting realm of Korean percussion music, unveiling the depth of its rich traditions and artistic mastery in a truly distinct form. HAEPAARY, the female alt-electronic duo, have their debut performance at the K-Music Festival this year and will infuse traditional Korean ritual music with a unique twist, incorporating elements of rave and trance to create a truly immersive experience. Continuing the legacy of Groove & who showcased their remarkable talent at WOMEX last year, HAEPAARY will perform at the 2023 WOMEX, a worldwide Music Expo showcasing diverse music in the world and the biggest conference of the global music scene.

Haeparry is set to perform on Tues 24th October. Photo Courtesy of Dawbell PR

Acclaimed drummer Sun Mi Hong and Soojin Suh are set to make a highly anticipated return to the K-Music Festival with an intriguing new collaboration. Sun Mi Hong, known for her success in the Dutch jazz scene since her winning at the Edison Awards, will join forces with fellow European musicians: jazz vocalist and composer Song Yi Jeon, pianist Gee Hye Lee, and London-based daegeum performer Hyelim Kim. Likewise, Soojin Shu, who was previously impressed with saxophonist Camila George, will once again captivate the audience through improvisation alongside her fellow ECM artist Kit Downes, a Mercury Music Award nominee, and her Cordless Quartet. This concert will be presented by the EFG London Jazz Festival in partnership with K-Music Festival along with a double billing of K musicians, LEENALCHI and JAMBINAI. 

Leenalchi is set to perform on 10th November. Photo Courtesy of Dawbell PR

In addition to the aforementioned highlights, brace yourself for an unforgettable collaboration between two highly popular bands from the contemporary Korean music scene blending traditional elements with innovative styles; LEENALCHI and JAMBINAI. JAMBINAI, renowned for their intense folk-infused post-rock, have graced the stages of prestigious music festivals and events worldwide, including Glastonbury, SXSW, Primavera, Southbank Centre's Meltdown, and the Closing Ceremony of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

Meanwhile, LEENALCHI has taken the world by storm with its groundbreaking musical creation, "Tiger Is Coming," which seamlessly blends danceable grooves and spellbinding storytelling, captivating audiences worldwide. Prepare to be mesmerised as these two musical powerhouses come together, showcasing a blend of their top-selling tracks alongside brand-new compositions, offering a glimpse into the evolution of their extraordinary sound. This collaboration is an experience not to be missed.

The K-music festival Line-up. Photo courtesy of Dawbell Pr. 

Artistic Director Jaeyeon Park comments: “We are thrilled to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the K-Music Festival this year. We have been organising the festival in partnership with Serious, the founder of the EFG London Jazz Festival. Throughout the past nine years, the festival has left a lasting impact, infusing the vibrant music scene of London with delightful Korean musical flavours. It has become the largest and most enduring platform in Europe, shining a spotlight on the finest talents from Korea. The festival has curated an impressive collection of 62 live concerts and 14 digital concerts, featuring a remarkable lineup of 1,064 artists. Among them are renowned figures such as the National Orchestra of Korea, Ahn Sook-sun, Jambinai, Black String, Jaram Lee, SsingSsing, Andy Sheppard, Vincent Periani, Nguyên Le, and Camila George.

With its diverse range of genres spanning rock, folk, jazz, and contemporary classical, the festival has successfully reached an enthusiastic audience of 13,427 attendees in the UK, while also engaging with 31,000 online participants worldwide. This year's line-up continues to push the boundaries of musical artistry, incorporating film scores, alternative K-Pop, and electronic music, while still embracing traditions. We hope that the festival's legacy will contribute to adding another layer to the UK music scene, making it even more diverse and exciting.”

K-Music Festival live show dates:

Jung Jaeil + London Symphony Orchestra: Music from Parasite & Squid Game - Sunday 1st October - Barbican Hall 

CelloGayageum + Dasom Baek - Friday 6 October - Kings Place Hall 2 

groove& x DUO BUD - Thursday 19 October - Kings Place Hall 1 

Haepaary - Tuesday 24 October - The Lower Third  

Sun Mi Hong Quartet - Wednesday 1 November - Milton Court, Barbican  

LEENALCHI x JAMBINAI - Friday 10 November – Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre 

Soojin Suh Chordless Quartet + Kit Downes - Sunday 12 November - Purcell Room, Southbank Centre.

Connect with the K-Music Festival on socials:


Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the K-music festival? Let us know, and be sure to follow KpopWise for all the latest news!

Kirsty Bright

A UK freelance writer, who stumbled into the land of Kpop while studying Korean. Her bias groups are BTS and Seventeen, but she loves a range of groups and finding new artists to listen to! Contact on Insta: @kirstybright_ Portfolio: kirstybright.journoportfolio.com

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